By Perly Viasmensky
Reading about the lawsuit filed by Susan Finucan, ex-special assistant to Las Vegas City Councilwoman, Olivia Diaz, left me speechless. This a woman who has served in the same capacity for two previous city councilmen without any complaints whatsoever.
According to what I read in the court pleadings, apparently Ms. Diaz only wants young Hispanic chicks on her staff and Ms. Finucan is 60 years of age.
It looks liked Olivia Diaz overlooked the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) that forbids age discrimination against people who are aged 40 or older.
Of course, age discrimination has been and still is common practice in the State of Nevada, especially in the City of Las Vegas. And not only age discrimination, but race discrimination is very much alive in our town as well.
The case of Ms. Finucan brought other cases to mind and how big companies sweep under the rug the actions of their employees that consider themselves the CEO of the company. Also, many local attorneys are guilty of the same lack of knowledge of the law.
Years ago, a friend of mine went for an employment interview at one of the newest hotels. She was 40 years old and had almost 20 years of experience as a hostess and even though she was employed, she wanted to move to a newer hotel.
We had other plans after the interview, so I went with her and waited in the waiting room for her to finish with the interview. She came out with a completely different attitude than when she went in and told me: “I’m not getting the job.”
I looked at her and asked: “What makes you think that? This is just a preliminary interview.” She said: “No, I saw the man putting my application all the way down in the stack of applications.”
“Let’s wait and see what others have to say when they come out of there,” I told her.
In just a matter of minutes a young girl in her very early 20s came out happier than a Christmas bell saying, “I got the job as a hostess!”
I approached the young girl and asked her: “You have a very familiar accent, where are you from?” “Czechoslovakia,” she said. “That’s what I thought; how long have you been in Las Vegas?” “Three months and this is my first job EVER,” she responded.
Many people don’t want to accept the fact that people from other countries come here to get the jobs of the American people.
Another case that comes to mind — a friend of mine, a Certified Legal Assistant, with 22 years of experience, went to apply for a position with an Immigration attorney. She was interviewed by the office manager who told her that she was having surgery the following day, but that she was going to call her in a week for her to meet the attorney.
Two weeks passed and no call from the supposed office manager. I told my friend that there was nothing wrong with giving that lady a call as a follow up to the interview.
I told my friend: “If you don’t want to know what’s behind the scenes, I do.” The next day I paid a visit to the attorney’s office. When I walked in a very young girl—in a mini skirt so short you could practically see the scar of her appendix surgery, high heels she couldn’t properly wobble on, and chewing gum moving from one side of her mouth to the other — sniped at me, “What do you want.”
“Excuse me? Excuuuse meeee!!! Never mind, I already got what I want,” I replied. I told my friend, “You didn’t lose anything, that’s not an attorney’s office, it’s just the lobby of a burlesque palace.”
I don’t know Ms. Susan Finucan, but I believe that a lady who worked for two previous councilmen, Gary Reese and Bob Coffin, without any complaint, and was treated with a total lack of respect by Olivia Diaz — who apparently has very little control over the people working for her — through those who were allowed to mistreat and disrespect a co-worker.
Even though many times it is convenient to have office people that speak a second language, it is not always imperative. All those Latinas that Olivia Diaz has working for her can perform the duties of an interpreter.
Once upon a time I worked in an office building where eight different attorneys had their businesses. They all had their own secretaries and assistants, but I was the only one that spoke Spanish in the building.
They all used my services as an interpreter and translator (some of them needed their retainer agreements translated if their clients could not read English). The attorney I worked for never complained when I left my office to help someone else.
I never got upset because the other ladies did not speak Spanish; after all, they spoke the language of the country where they were born. And guess what? I was never used as a babysitter for anyone.
Olivia Diaz needs to comprehend that her personnel are not the best of the city; her telephone lines are never answered and when a miracle happens and someone does answer, the council lady is always “in the field.” I wonder what area of Ward 3 she visits so often because none of the businesses on 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th streets have ever seen her face, not even in a two-mile radius.
Olivia Diaz needs to understand that it will not be very long from now before she will also be 60 years old, and the respect she pays to others now is the same respect she is going to receive later in her life.
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Perly Viasmensky is the General Manager of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Perly Viasmensky, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org