Three female coaches at Fresno City College and Reedley College have sued the State Center Community College District for gender discrimination, saying the district employs an unfair system that pays male coaches more money.
The three coaches also contend in their Fresno County Superior Court lawsuit that the district has violated Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded educational programs and activities.
In their lawsuit, the coaches claim that SCCCD “has a longstanding and pervasive policy, pattern and practice of gender discrimination and unequal treatment of female coaches, female athletes and female athletic programs.”
I can state that State Center Community College District is committed to gender equity and abiding by the law.
SCCCD spokeswoman Lucy Ruiz
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The three coaches are Rhonda Williams, coach of the Fresno City College softball team and assistant coach for the women’s golf team; Kathleen Kuball, coach of the Reedley College softball team; and Shannon Jefferies, coach of the Reedley College volleyball team. They are represented by Fresno attorneys Warren Paboojian and Todd Barsotti.
The two lawyers say in court papers that the three coaches have been employed by the district since the mid-1990s, have done their jobs in an exemplary manner and have never been disciplined.
“The decision to undertake this action was a decision that was not taken lightly,” Paboojian and Barsotti said in a news release. “It is unfortunate that litigation is necessary simply to cause an employer to follow laws which have been in place for decades.”
Lucy Ruiz, executive director for public and legislative relations at State Center, said the district is aware of the lawsuit. “Although we can’t comment on pending litigation, I can state that State Center Community College District is committed to gender equity and abiding by the law,” Ruiz said in an email.
The lawsuit says SCCD provides males coaches and athletes ‘with better employment conditions and resources’ than female coaches and female athletes.
The lawsuit contends the three women coaches “perform comparable and sometimes more job duties than their counterparts” but are paid less. That’s because SCCCD gives males coaches more work days than female coaches, the lawsuit says.
In addition, the lawsuit says, State Center provides males coaches and athletes “with better employment conditions and resources” than female coaches and athletes when it comes to such things as locker rooms, uniforms, equipment, funding, support staff, travel and personal trainers.
Wiliams, Kuball and Jefferies are seeking unspecified damages for violation of their civil rights. They also are asking the court to issue an order that prohibits SCCCD “from continuing to maintain practices and policies of discrimination against female coaches and female athletes” and abide by Title IX.