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Custodian Has Beef|With an Heiress

MONTEREY, Calif. (CN) - A conversation about wages with Monterey Bay Aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard led to a custodian's firing from his $11.56 an hour job, the man claims in court.

Bradley J. Clinton sued Monterey Bay Aquarium, Packard, and three other officers and directors of the museum, on Oct. 28 in Superior Court.

Packard, the daughter of Hewlett-Packard co-founder David Packard, has been executive director of the aquarium since it opened in 1984. Her father donated more than $50 million in found the aquarium, and about $4 billion to the Packard Foundation at his death. Julie Packard is a member of the foundation's Board of Trustees.

Clinton claims he started working at the aquarium in 2005 and was fired in September. In those nine years, he says, he received just $2.54 in raises.

"He felt he was not moving up the ladder and they were advancing Mexican-Americans over him," his attorney John Klopfenstein said in a telephone interview. "He took a lot of pride in his job. He thought there were other ways the aquarium could do things, but he was shut down by human resources - everybody."

Clinton says in the lawsuit that he was retaliated against and discriminated against, but does not list either as a cause of action. He says his problems began when he struck up a conversation with Packard as she was walking to the parking garage. Clinton says he complained that he was making only $11.56 per hour though new hires were making $11.

Packard replied "that she did not believe in seniority," Clinton says in the complaint. "After this conversation," the complaint continues, Clinton "was put on a week administrative leave and then eventually fired."

While on administrative leave, Clinton says, he called defendant aquarium trustee Peter Bing, to talk about his salary, and "how defendants were wasting money" with their recycling policy. He says Bing refused to talk about these issues.

After he returned from administrative leave, Clinton says, he was harassed by defendants Chris Sanchez, his immediate supervisor, and Teresa Merry, vice president of human resources.

Clinton seeks damages for wrongful termination, overtime violations, meal and rest break violations, hostile work environment and failure to prevent harassment.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium had no comment.

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