Wednesday, September 11, 2013

11th Circuit slams ASU and its lawyers and upholds $1M for employees subjected to black supervisor who used N-word

 The 11th Circuit affirmed a $1 million bias award in back pay and lost wages in favor of three black or biracial women employees of Alabama State University who claimed that their also black former superior used the N-word and subjected them to a hostile work environment.

"The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals began with a footnote of apology: 'We apologize for the offensive and demeaning language contained in this opinion,' it read, 'but such language comes directly from the trial record.' Writing for the panel, Judge Joel Dubina goes on to recount the alleged racial slurs by associate executive director LaVonette Bartley, who is African-American, and alleged sexually inappropriate remarks by the official for whom she worked, Dr. John Knight. Knight, a member of the Alabama State Legislature, was special assistant to the president, acting president and later the chief operating officer of ASU."
“We are left to wonder who is in charge at ASU,” the opinion said. “Regardless, however, we are unnerved by the apparent acquiescence to, if not outright condoning of, the abusive work environment created by its high-level employees. Such conduct simply has no place in a work environment, especially at a publicly funded university.”  More.

The opinion (PDF).

Originally Posted in ABA Journal on Sep 5, 2013 5:44 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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