In a lawsuit filed against the city on Friday, former aide Susan Finucan alleges that she experienced racial and age discrimination during her time working for Las Vegas Councilwoman Olivia Diaz. Despite having a long and exemplary career at City Hall, Finucan claims she was wrongfully fired in March.
As the only Ward 3 staff member who could not speak Spanish, Finucan says she was excluded from certain events and discussions. She also alleges that she was treated unfairly compared to her younger Hispanic colleagues, one of whom she claims harassed her constantly. Finucan was ultimately replaced by a much younger Hispanic woman.
Attorney Christian Gabroy, who is representing Finucan, emphasizes the importance of not tolerating such behavior from any employer, whether public or private. The lawsuit names the city as the defendant, as it holds liability as the employer, rather than Diaz herself.
City Denied Wrongdoing
The city and Diaz declined to comment on the litigation, citing their longstanding practice. However, in August, the city responded to Finucan’s complaint with the state Employee-Management Resources Board and denied any wrongdoing. They stated that employment decisions were made based on reasonable factors and not due to the claims made by Finucan.
According to the lawsuit, Finucan was informed in February that she was being terminated because Diaz had lost faith in her ability to do her job. She was officially fired on March 19 after refusing to sign a separation agreement stating that she was resigning. As a result of her firing, Finucan was forced to sell her home due to financial difficulties.
Speaking Spanish Was Not A Job Prerequisite
Finucan was hired by Diaz in June 2019 for a probationary term and was officially brought on board three months later. She was responsible for Diaz’s scheduling and calendar. Despite not speaking Spanish, which was not required for the job, Finucan had prior experience working in the predominantly Hispanic district. She had been involved in important district meetings and events as an aide to Diaz’s predecessors.
However, during her time working for Diaz, Finucan claimed that she was excluded from important inter-office conversations, briefings, town halls, and other work functions. She alleged that Diaz and other Ward 3 staff often spoke in Spanish and met behind closed doors without including her. This exclusion ultimately hindered her ability to serve the district and resulted in important tasks being forgotten or incomplete, according to the lawsuit.
Aide reported Diaz over babysitting
Aide Finucan lodged a complaint against Diaz for mistreatment and claimed that another high-ranking aide verbally abused her without consequences, despite reporting it to Diaz. Additionally, Finucan alleged that she was frequently required to perform the inappropriate task of babysitting Diaz’s son during work hours.
After filing a human resources complaint following one instance of babysitting for approximately five hours, Finucan stated that Diaz retaliated by bringing her child to meetings instead of leaving him with Finucan. The lawsuit further mentioned that instead of addressing Finucan’s concerns, a meeting was held on February 10 to establish goals for Ward 3, which deliberately excluded Finucan from any involvement, particularly in Spanish-speaking outreach and initiatives.
Sensitivity training sought
In an attempt to address concerns regarding discrimination and harassment, Finucan has filed a lawsuit claiming she faced wrongful termination based on race and age, as well as retaliation for reporting her babysitting duties to human resources.
The city, accused of failing to protect her, rejected her appeal on the grounds of untimeliness.
Attorney Gabroy aims to implement policies and procedures, including sensitivity training, to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.