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Discrimination

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NEWS
February 27, 2014
Although Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has since vetoed it, lawmakers in that state recently approved a measure to allow business owners to refuse service to gays and other groups if it is perceived to violate the practice and observance of the business owner's religion. Q: Is it discriminatory against religious business owners to demand that they treat everyone equally? If business owners do discriminate based on their religious beliefs, should that discrimination be illegal?    The practice of treating every person with fairness and equity without offending their basic human dignity should be extended to business owners as well as to their patrons.
NEWS
By Christopher Cadelago | May 29, 2009
CITY CENTER — One lieutenant and four Burbank police officers filed a lawsuit against the department Thursday, alleging that they were subjected to routine racial discrimination and sexual harassment, and then faced retaliation from the command staff when they complained. The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of Lt. Omar Rodriguez and police officers Cindy Guillen-Gomez, Steve Karagiosian, Elfego Rodriguez and Jamal Childs. According to the complaint, the officers “were subjected to discrimination and discriminatory policies, practices and procedures based upon race, ancestry, national origin, sex/gender, marital status, and pregnancy, among other things.
NEWS
November 29, 2003
Jackson Bell A jury will consider the merits of a wrongful-termination lawsuit filed by a Burbank city employee after attorneys on both sides delivered closing arguments this week. Deborah McMurray, 57, a revenue clerk in the city's Park, Recreation and Community Services Department, sued the city in March 2001, alleging age and gender discrimination. According to her attorney, Brad Gage, McMurray was subjected to a hostile work environment when she complained about the treatment.
NEWS
June 30, 2002
Ryan Carter BURBANK -- A mediator has failed to reach a resolution in a year-old lawsuit against the city brought by two city employees who claim they were victims of racial, gender and age discrimination and a hostile work environment. Mediator Natt Portugal was assigned in January to hash out an agreement between the city's attorneys and city employees Deborah McMurray and Margorie George. But in May, Portugal, who could not be reached for comment, filed a statement of nonagreement in Los Angeles Superior Court.
NEWS
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 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.
FEATURES
February 6, 2010
The Super Bowl is this weekend. But the game won’t be played without a bit of controversy. CBS has rejected an ad from a gay dating website. While entirely commercial in nature, CBS argues, the spot “is not within the network’s broadcast standards for Super Bowl Sunday.” While CBS has rejected other ads (one featuring a man named Lola), the folks behind the dating site say it is “straight-up discrimination.” What do you think? Is it discrimination?
NEWS
By Maria Hsin, maria.hsin@latimes.com | March 27, 2012
The Armenian American police detective who is suing the city over allegations he was harassed and discriminated against because of his ethnicity took the stand during his suit's trial this week, sharing with the jury years of alleged ethnic slurs directed at him and Armenians in general. Det. Steve Karagiosian testified that other officers, including detectives and sergeants, made disparaging remarks about Armenians from the moment he joined the department in 2004 to begin his training.
NEWS
By Christopher Cadelago | March 18, 2010
A black Burbank Police officer does not have a discrimination claim against the department, a Los Angeles judge ruled Thursday, dismissing Jamal Childs as a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed against the city last May. The ruling by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joanne O’Donnell does not affect the other four plaintiffs in the suit, who allege numerous occurrences of racial and gender-based bias, harassment and retaliation. O’Donnell ruled that the racial epithets or other discrimination directed at Childs fell outside of the statue of limitations, and that more recent comments were not directed at him personally, amounting to hearsay.
NEWS
December 6, 2003
Jackson Bell A jury awarded a longtime city employee more than $1.5 million late Thursday, finding that she was subjected to disability discrimination, attorneys said. Deborah McMurray was awarded $1,501,567 in damages and an additional $33,000 for the city's failure to meet reasonable accommodations for her disability, said Stephen Love, one of her attorneys. "This is a situation where Mrs. McMurray was a valuable employee who had consistently received outstanding reviews and thinks she was discriminated against on the basis of her disability," Love said.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
February 27, 2014
Although Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has since vetoed it, lawmakers in that state recently approved a measure to allow business owners to refuse service to gays and other groups if it is perceived to violate the practice and observance of the business owner's religion. Q: Is it discriminatory against religious business owners to demand that they treat everyone equally? If business owners do discriminate based on their religious beliefs, should that discrimination be illegal?    The practice of treating every person with fairness and equity without offending their basic human dignity should be extended to business owners as well as to their patrons.
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NEWS
By Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com | October 1, 2013
A Burbank man filed a lawsuit against the city of Burbank last month claiming age and race discrimination after he was not hired for several city jobs for which he said he was qualified.  Marco Gonzalez, 49, claimed he was passed over for employment nine out of the 11 times he applied for a city job. His two most recent job applications are pending, according to his lawsuit. Burbank City Atty. Amy Albano said Tuesday she has no indication the city didn't follow its hiring protocols in this case.  “The city has hiring practices that we follow, and the reason we have those practices is to make sure we don't have issues like this come up,” Albano said.  In 2009, Gonzalez applied for an engineering technician position.
THE818NOW
By Jason Wells, jason.wells@latimes.com | June 26, 2013
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) called Wednesday a “huge day for the cause of equality” after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a pair of rulings essentially affirming the rights of gay couples to marry. The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, was unconstitutional because it denied equal rights and benefits to all married couples. The court also turned away the defenders of Proposition 8, essentially sending the case back to California, where state officials are likely to resume gay marriages.
THE818NOW
By Maria Hsin, maria.hsin@latimes.com | August 7, 2012
After a jury in May rejected a Burbank police officer's claims that she was harassed and discriminated against because of her gender, ethnicity and pregnancy, the officer plans to take her case to a state appellate court. A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on June 25 denied Officer Cindy Guillen's request for a new trial. Guillen said in her 2009 claim that she endured sexual comments and racial epithets. Guillen is of Costa Rican and Guatemalan ancestry, and in her claim states that she was the first Latina hired by the department in 2000.
NEWS
By Maria Hsin, maria.hsin@latimes.com | May 15, 2012
A lawsuit filed by a female Burbank police officer who claims she faced discrimination because of her pregnancy, and then retaliation when she complained, was rejected by a Los Angeles County Superior Court jury on Monday. The verdict came days after a judge threw out portions of the original lawsuit filed by Officer Cindy Guillen, including that she faced harassment based on her ethnicity and gender. Her attorney, Solomon Gresen, had sought up to $500,000 for pain and suffering, and $30,000 for lost wages due a lost assignment, but on Monday, the jury sided with the city, which painted Guillen in court as someone who holds grudges and was capitalizing on the Police Department's recent legal woes.
NEWS
By Maria Hsin, maria.hsin@latimes.com | May 11, 2012
Closing arguments wrapped up Friday afternoon for a lawsuit filed by a female police officer, who claims she faced discrimination and harassment because of her pregnancy, and retaliation when she complained. On Thursday, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge told jurors they could not consider other claims made by Officer Cindy Guillen in the lawsuit, including that she faced harassment based on her ethnicity and gender. Jurors will decide whether Guillen should be awarded up to $500,000 for pain and suffering, and up to $30,000 for lost wages due to allegedly being taken off an assignment in retaliation for lodging a complaint.
NEWS
By Maria Hsin, maria.hsin@latimes.com | May 4, 2012
The trial for a lawsuit filed by Burbank Police Officer Cindy Guillen - who is alleging racial and ethnic discrimination, in addition to harassment due to her marital status and pregnancy - is expected to start next week after attorneys wrapped up jury selection Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Guillen, who is Latino, also alleged in her lawsuit filed in 2009 that when she complained to commanders, she faced retaliation - echoing claims filed by other former and current officers who have sued the Police Department.
NEWS
April 5, 2012
A jury today awarded an Armenian American police detective $150,000 for claims that he faced on-the-job discrimination and harassment because of his ethnicity, his attorney said. The detective who filed the lawsuit, Steve Karagiosian, testified in Los Angeles County Superior Court that detectives and sergeants in the police department regularly used derogative terms - such as “towel heads” - in referring to Armenians. The decision comes two weeks after a jury awarded former Burbank Police Deputy Chief William Taylor nearly $1.3 million based on claims that he was fired in retaliation for refusing to sign off on the terminations of minority officers and for raising concerns about how a sexual harassment incident was being handled.
NEWS
By Maria Hsin, maria.hsin@latimes.com | April 3, 2012
Jurors in a trial brought by an Armenian American Burbank police detective who alleged he was harassed and faced discrimination were asked by his attorney Tuesday to award him $600,000 to $1 million. In his closing arguments in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Solomon Gresen, who is representing police Det. Steve Karagiosian, told jurors that the city does not deny that ethnic slurs were made, but instead is downplaying their significance. “The defense is not saying it didn't happen,” Gresen said.
NEWS
By Maria Hsin, maria.hsin@latimes.com | March 27, 2012
The Armenian American police detective who is suing the city over allegations he was harassed and discriminated against because of his ethnicity took the stand during his suit's trial this week, sharing with the jury years of alleged ethnic slurs directed at him and Armenians in general. Det. Steve Karagiosian testified that other officers, including detectives and sergeants, made disparaging remarks about Armenians from the moment he joined the department in 2004 to begin his training.
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