Phoenix, AZ — Talonya Adams, a lawyer who used to work as a policy adviser in the Senate’s Democratic Caucus in Arizona, filed a racial and gender d*iscrimination laws*uit against her employer claiming that she was fired because she questioned why her salary was lower than her c*ounterpart who is a white male.
She represented herself in c*ourt and was recently awarded $1 million.
In 2015, Adams apparently discovered through a legislative report published by the Arizona Capitol Times that she earned almost $30,000 less than her c*ounterpart who have the same duties as hers. She said she earned $60,000 a year and never got a raise, unlike her colleagues.
Adams complained about it to Democratic leaders and the Democrat’s chief of staff. Former Senate minority leader and now-Secretary of State Katie Hobbs replied that her complaint was inappropriate. After a few weeks, while Adams was on leave to take care of her child in Seattle who was sick, she was fired.
Adams appealed the decision in federal c*ourt, claiming that Hobbs v*iolated the Civil Rights Act for firing her because she questioned the pay disparity. Senate a*ttorneys, however, claimed that she couldn’t compare her salary with her Republican c*ounterparts despite their similar job duties because “the majority caucus pays differently than the minority caucus.”
After a 4-day t*rial, the j*ury decided in favor of Adams and declared that she was indeed d*iscriminated against because of her race and gender. She was awarded $1 million in compensatory damages, with more possibly coming after a hearing next month on p*unitive damages.