The State Worker

State worker’s lawsuit nets five years of back pay and her old job

This is the Attorney General's building at 13th and I Streets in Sacramento on March 21, 2006.
This is the Attorney General's building at 13th and I Streets in Sacramento on March 21, 2006. Sacramento Bee Staff Photo

A California Department of Justice agent who won a lawsuit that compelled her department to pay her five years of back wages was among the highest-paid workers in California government last year.

Angie Resendez earned more than $709,000 in 2016, mostly because of the sum the state was ordered to pay her after the state Department of Justice in 2010 put conditions on her reinstatement when she recovered from what she thought was a career-ending disability.

Her union, the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association, announced the lawsuit result when she won her final appeal in October 2015. That decision ordered the state to pay her five years of back wages, which amounted to about $652,000.

Resendez did not get to keep all of the money. She reimbursed the California Public Employees’ Retirement System for the pension she received in between her medical retirement and her reinstatement, said Teri Cox, a spokeswoman for the law enforcement union.

Resendez in December 2008 received a medical retirement because of a spinal condition she developed after suffering work-related injuries, according to the 2015 court ruling.

CalPERS cleared her to return to work in 2010 when her condition improved.

But the Justice Department declined to reinstate Resendez without a background investigation, another medical evaluation and a psychological evaluation.

Resendez challenged the conditions and won rulings from the state Office of Administrative Hearings, the State Personnel Board and Los Angeles Superior Court.

The final ruling ordering the Justice Department to reinstate Resendez came from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal.

“We stood by her and fought this fight for more than five years. Despite appeal after appeal by DOJ, the rulings have been in her favor and finally she may have her job back and be reimbursed for lost wages,” CSLEA President Alan Barcelona said at the time.

The Department of Justice declined to comment.

Adam Ashton: 916-321-1063, @Adam_Ashton.