Though all Louisianans should be able to work and contribute to society without fear of discrimination and harassment, the sad reality is that far too many individuals are subjected to unfair, indecent, and disturbing work environments. When this happens, victims are often caught in a difficult situation. Do they speak out about their unfair treatment and risk unlawful retaliation? Or do they try their best to deal with the situation and continue to confront their hostile work environment?
One former Louisiana State University instructor says she knows this scenario all too well. She recently filed a lawsuit against the institution, claiming that she was unlawfully terminated after making claims of sexual harassment, gender bias in pay and the misuse of university funds. Among those claims, the former photography instructor states that one coworker, openly and on a daily basis, rated female professor's breasts. Others lewdly discussed sexual relationships between male professors and female students.
The former instructor also claimed the university illegally used student fees to buy technology for individual professors. An internal audit validated that claim, and money was later refunded to students. However, once the former instructor took leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act to deal with the depression and a panic disorder caused by her continued harassment, she was dismissed.
Sadly, instances like this happen more often than we care to think. We do not always hear about it because many are too afraid to speak up. Fortunately, those being subjected to hostile work environments can find an ally in the form of an experienced attorney. These legal professionals can help give these victims a voice, and help them fight for the lost wages and other damages they deserve.
Source: The Times-Picayune, "Complaints of sexual harassment, unequal pay and misused funds at LSU prompted instructor's retaliatory firing, lawsuit alleges," Emily Lane, Mar. 6, 2015