Former City Manager Deanna Santana’s breach of contract and discrimination claim against the City of Santa Clara is simple: The City hasn’t [met its commitments], specified in both her employment contract and separation agreement. Santana says that compensation that was due from March 19, 2023 through March 31, 2023 was either denied or “clawed back.” The claim specifically [notes] accrued service credit and 8% CalPERS contribution.
Santana alleges that the City didn’t pay a cost of living raise she would have been entitled to in March, as well a CalPERS contribution and accruals of vacation, sick leave and management leave from March 19 through March 31.
Santana’s employment contract is clear about the city’s obligation if she is dismissed. She had the choice between a lump sum payment equal to twelve months total compensation or staying on the payroll for twelve months.
Her severance agreement, effective March 31, 2022, says that Santana will receive “any and all compensation” she’s entitled to by the terms of her employment contract through March 31, 2023. The agreement was executed March 24, 2022.
The separation agreement also releases the city from any claims and liabilities “which Ms. Santana ever had or held, now has or holds or hereafter can, shall or may have or hold against the City Released Parties, based on any claims for occurrences” prior to the effective date of the agreement. This includes claims against a “federal, state, municipal or other government statute, regulation, ordinance or order.”
She further agreed to waive “unknown and unsuspected” claims as of the agreement date; and further that the agreement is an “affirmative defense” — evidence that negates liability even if it’s proved the defendant committed the alleged acts.
The severance agreement with the City of Santa Clara further specifies that any disputes that can’t be settled amicably are subject to arbitration, which will be the final judgment on any dispute subject to appeal.