Fired Senate staffer who won $1M verdict wants job back

Talonya Adams

By Julia Shumway | Arizona Capitol Times

The former Democratic staffer who won a $1 million discrimination verdict against the Arizona Senate in July wants her job back,  but she questioned in court Wednesday whether it will be a welcoming work environment.

Talonya Adams, a black attorney who worked as a policy adviser for the Democratic caucus from December 2012 to February 2015, was fired after asking questions about her salary and workload. A jury found that Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, then the Senate minority leader, as well as Senate Chief of Staff Wendy Baldo and Democratic caucus Chief of Staff Jeffrey Winkler discriminated against Adams based on her race and gender, then fired her for complaining about it.

During a hearing on additional damages in front of a federal judge, Baldo said she still doesn’t believe that Adams faced race-based discrimination or retaliation. She repeatedly responded to questions from Adams about her beliefs by saying the jury found discrimination, and eventually allowed that she believed Adams encountered sex-based discrimination from Hobbs and Winkler.

“I believe that Ms. Adams believes she was discriminated against because of her race,” Baldo said.

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