Two other discrimination lawsuits pending

After losing $5.85 million this summer to former women’s volleyball coach Lindy Vivas, Fresno State stands to lose even more respect and money thanks to the two high-profile gender discrimination cases scheduled to start in October and November.

Fresno State women’s basketball fans recall head coach Stacy Johnson-Klein, both outspoken and fashionably dressed for her team’s games. But what garnered more attention was her suspension, a three-week internal investigation performed by the university and her eventual termination from Fresno State in 2005.

In the end, the university accused her of repeatedly taking prescription painkillers from a player, mishandling money, not listening to “higher ups,” committing an NCAA violation by allowing a player’s parent to stay in a university-paid hotel room and creating a hostile work and learning environment for her players and the staff.

Johnson-Klein is now suing her former employer for not only wrongful termination, but also sexual harassment and gender discrimination, which Vivas claimed in her winning suit as well.

Johnson-Klein’s case will begin sometime in October. Following that in November will be the suit filed by former Associate Athletics Director Diane Milutinovich.

Milutinovich, who worked for 21 years as an athletic administrator at Fresno State and as the associate athletics director for the last 12 years of her tenure, was fired from her high ranking position in 2002 and reassigned just last year as the director of the University Student Union.

Fresno State claims she was taken out of the athletics department due to budgetary reasons.

Milutinovich disagrees saying she was removed from the athletics department because of her role in previous Title IX incidents involving Fresno State, including a 1992 suit that resulted in a two-year investigation by the Office of Civil Rights that found Fresno State out of compliance with Title IX in 11 areas.

According to Milutinovich’s attorney, Dan Siegel, who also represented Vivas, the two cases are very similar.

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