A California Superior Court jury in Fresno has awarded $5.85 million to a former Fresno State volleyball coach who filed a discrimination suit after she was fired in 2004. The award covered back wages, future lost pay and emotional distress.
Linda Vivas sued under both California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act and Title IX of the federal 1972 Education Amendments. She claimed the State University of Fresno discriminated against her because of her gender, marital status and perceived sexual orientation. In addition, she alleged the university retaliated against her because she complained of discrimination and advocated gender equity in the school’s athletic programs.
Vivas argued that other employees were treated more favorably in terms of contract limitations, salary, coaching assistance and performance standards. According to the university, its actions were “based solely on Ms. Vivas’ job performance and her unwillingness to improve the volleyball program.”
Apparently, the jury didn’t buy the university’s version of events.