BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer
A racial discrimination suit filed against the city by Palo Alto Children’s Theater Managing Artistic Director Judge Luckey is headed to trial in September, Luckey’s lawyer told the Post yesterday (April 24).
Luckey, 55, of San Jose, is scheduled to give a deposition when he is questioned by lawyers in advance of the trial, said his attorney, Gretchen Birkheimer.
Birkheimer told the Post in November that the suit was in mediation and may resolve shortly.
Luckey’s supervisor, Community Services Assistant Director Rhyena Halpern, will also be deposed before the Sept. 24 trial date.
Halpern and Luckey did not return requests for comment yesterday. Luckey, who is black, filed the suit on Dec. 8, 2016, alleging racial discrimination and retaliation from Halpern, who is white. He claimed that she had taken an “immediate aversion” to him and treated him differently from his white colleagues, excluding him socially and denying him opportunities that other employees in the Community Services Department were afforded.
Luckey initially acted as his own lawyer and named Halpern, who is director of the Arts and Sciences Division of the department, as a co-defendant with the city before learning that as a supervisor, she wouldn’t bear individual liability for his employment-related claims.
Birkheimer took over the case on March 30, 2017. Luckey has been working for the city since Jan. 20, 2009, and answering to Halpern since February 2013, six months after she was hired.
He claimed in the suit that Halpern met with each of her white employees for private lunches where they set their annual goals and budgets, but “systematically” failed to meet with Luckey.
Luckey said he earned a positive review for the period ending in June 2013, but that Halpern delayed giving him the review until five months later, affecting his ability to get a raise between 2013 and 2014.