Discrimination lawsuit filed against City of Fresno

FRESNO, Calif (KFSN) -- More than a year after being fired from the City of Fresno former Planning Manager Douglas Hecker is seeking justice.

His attorney Kevin Little says Hecker worked for the city for 27 years and was six months shy of eligibility for deferred retirement benefits when he was fired. "He wasn't given any reason or justification for his firing. Mr. Hecker had superlative performance reviews for his entire tenure with the City which was lengthy," Little said.

In a nine-page document filed May 7th, he cites discrimination and retaliation as chief complaints. The lawsuit alleges Hecker's supervisor at the time, public utilities director Thomas Esqueda, ordered him to train a younger, recently hired senior engineering tech to do his job.

Little says, "he was training someone who was at his same position level-- which was a violation of regulation. So what happened is he was given a promotion so he could continue to train that person who ultimately became his replacement."

The lawsuit also claims Esqueda repeatedly told him he was paid too much and tried to pressure him into signing off on construction projects that violated Fresno's municipal code or city regulations. Esqueda, who now works at Fresno State, didn't return our request for comment.

City of Fresno spokesman, Mark Standriff, told Action News by phone that they do not comment on personnel matters or pending litigation.

A hearing to set a trial date will be held in about three months.
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