Black Experience

Former Dem Aide Wins $1M Discrimination Suit after Representing Herself in Court

A young Black female attorney in Arizona who filed a racial and gender discrimination lawsuit against her employer was recently awarded $1 million after representing herself.

Talonya Adams, who worked as a policy adviser in the Senate’s Democratic Caucus in Arizona, said she was fired after questioning why her salary was $30,000 lower than her White male counterpart for the GOP.

Adams, who made the discovery four years ago through a legislative report published by the Arizona Capitol Times, said she earned $60,000 a year and, unlike her colleagues, never received a raise.

She complained about her situation in an email to Democratic leaders, but then-Senate Minority Leader Katie Hobbs replied that the complaint was “inappropriate.”

After a few weeks, when Adams was on leave to take care of her sick child, she was fired.

She appealed the decision in federal court, claiming that Hobbs, now secretary of state, violated the Civil Rights Act by firing her for questioning the pay disparity.

Senate attorneys subsequently claimed that Adams couldn’t compare her salary with her Republican counterparts despite their similar job duties because “the majority caucus pays differently than the minority caucus.”

However, after a four-day trial, the jury decided in favor of Adams and declared that she was indeed discriminated against because of her race and gender.

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