Discrimination case from senator’s Modesto office heading to trial

A judge has refused the California Senate’s request to throw out a discrimination lawsuit brought by an aide who was fired from Sen. Tom Berryhill’s Modesto office.

Douglas Miller, who is Latino, said he was sacked after complaining of a “racist, sexist and ageist” office culture, while Senate lawyers contend he was dismissed for misconduct.

Berryhill, R-Twain Harte, is not named as a defendant and did not fire Miller, who technically was a Senate employee although he had worked for Berryhill since 2006, when Berryhill was a state assemblyman.

The court finds triable issues of material fact as to whether (Miller) was subject to discrimination and/or retaliation.

Ruling by Judge David Brown

Miller’s lawsuit, alleging discrimination and retaliation, said he was subjected to racial slurs and jokes based on race and others’ sexual orientation. His case is good enough to proceed to trial, scheduled to begin Jan. 30, Sacramento Superior Court Judge David Brown decided on Wednesday.

The “short timeline” between Miller’s complaint to a Senate personnel investigator and his firing raises the possibility that the discipline might have been retaliatory, Brown found. The judge also noted that the investigator allegedly became “angry and hostile” toward Miller rather than taking an interest in his story.

The investigator was looking into complaints raised by Miller’s co-worker after a July 2013 office argument that started with comments about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s tattoos and whether…

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