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Harassment trial underway

Jackson Bell

A former Burbank city employee was subjected to workplace harassment

and overlooked for job opportunities because of her age and gender,

her attorney said Friday in his opening statements of the woman’s

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trial against the city.

Deborah McMurray, a 57-year-old revenue clerk, alleges that she

was discriminated against and subjected to a hostile work environment

when she complained, her attorney Brad Gage said. She worked for the

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city’s Park, Recreation and Community Services Department.

She sued the city in March 2001.

“The evidence shows that after McMurray complained both formally

and informally, she was retaliated against,” Gage said.

He added that she was told not to apply for the budget director

position, was stripped of job duties, removed from committees,

ignored and was told only to communicate with other co-workers

through e-mail.

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But Irma Rodriguez Moisa, one of the attorneys representing the

city, said McMurray never applied for the position. Moisa said that

the plaintiff had a personality disorder that “would turn a simple

conversation or compliment into an insult or [instance of]

discrimination.

“This case is about a individual who refused to recognize that she

didn’t have the skills to do the job and instead the city hired the

best qualified applicant,” she said.

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When questioned on the stand by Gage, City Manager Mary Alvord

said McMurray was unable to get along with co-workers.

Officials expect the trial to last as long as 17 days.

Earlier this year, Gage helped three female Glendale Police

officers win a $3.5-million jury award for a sexual harassment

lawsuit against that city, which Moisa represented.


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