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City workers claim harassment, discrimination

March 31, 2001

Tim Willert

CIVIC CENTER -- A city employee alleging sexual harassment has

resigned from her job, while two other city workers have jointly filed a

discrimination lawsuit against the city of Burbank, according to

documents and authorities.

Tina Staffon, a senior video production associate in her mid-30s who

has worked with the city since November 1987, resigned from her post

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Thursday, said her private attorney, Bradley Gage.

"Because of the hostile work environment and the stress, it got to be

too much for Tina," Gage said. Staffon has been on medical leave since

Dec. 18, 2000.

Staffon's resignation follows her filing this week of a charge of

discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which

alleged sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation by Public

Information Officer Peter Musurlian.

In the claim, a copy of which was obtained by the Burbank Leader,

Staffon alleged that for the past year she has been subjected to

"constant harassment" that included "comments regarding my ability to do

my job, viewing pornography on our department computer, inappropriate

cartoons and having my work duties taken away from me."

Staffon claimed she also has been subjected to sexual harassment

"which creates a hostile and offensive work environment."

John Nicoll, the city's management services director, did not return

several calls made Thursday seeking comment about Staffon.

Gage, who also represents city employees Deborah McMurray and Marjorie

George, filed a discrimination lawsuit on their behalf last week in Los

Angeles Superior Court.

In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs claimed discrimination and alleged

they were denied promotions because of their age and gender.

McMurray, 54, is a revenue officer who has worked with the city for

four years and is on leave, Gage said.

George, a 63-year-old administrative officer in the Park, Recreation

and Community Services Department, was hired by Burbank in 1987. George

is still at work, Gage said.

Burbank City Atty. Dennis Barlow refused to comment on the lawsuit

Thursday.

Both women are undergoing testing for possible heart conditions

allegedly brought on by the stress endured in the alleged hostile working

environment, according to the lawsuit. The suit also mentioned Staffon

suffered from stress and strain and that McMurray has required

psychological care and treatment.

In an attempt to escape her job with the city, McMurray sought

employment with the city of Glendale and tested well, but believes she

was not hired "because of a false and negative reference by members of

the city of Burbank," according to the lawsuit.

George, who is African American, alleged she "has been the victim of

disparate treatment in compensation, terms, conditions and privileges of

employment because of her race." So does McMurray, who is Caucasian, but

associated with African Americans -- including George -- and Latinos.

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