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California basketball coach claims retaliation after retiring

A former San Diego State University women's basketball coach is seeking compensation from the school after allegedly being fired for demanding fair treatment. The woman claims that the retaliation occurred because she was demanding equal treatment for women's sports programs at the school. The former coach, who boasts more wins than any other women's basketball coach in the school's history, was also embroiled in a scandal after allegedly striking one of her assistant coaches. She was told that she had to retire, resign or be fired after allegedly striking the subordinate.

The woman has filed a lawsuit against the school, arguing that a breach of contract occurred when she was fired for complaining about the status of women's sports at the school. She said she regularly complained about the major differences between financial and infrastructure support for women's and men's basketball program. The men's program ostensibly received better housing, staffing, equipment and facilities than those provided for the women. The coach said she spent a significant amount of her own money to pay for staff and team needs.

The woman said she was facing increased pressure to leave her job after she allegedly struck the assistant coach during a game in 2013. She first struck the man's clipboard, and video shows that she appears to hit his shoulder later in the game. She said she did not intentionally strike anyone, and she was forced to retire in order to save her pension.

Now, the woman said she not only lost money because she was forced out of her job, but her professional reputation has also been so damaged that she is virtually unemployable. Victims who have been unfairly targeted because they speak out about inequality should not have to worry about retaliatory actions from their employers. A California employment attorney may be able to assist victims who have been subject to unfair retaliation for reporting misconduct.

Source: NBC 7 San Diego, "Ex-Basketball Coach Beth Burns Files Wrongful Termination Lawsuit" R. Stickney, Feb. 19, 2014

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