On February 22nd, 2006, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., against Langston University in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. The DOJ sought injunctive relief, alleging that the defendant violating Title VII by discriminating against a white female professor on the basis of her race.
The DOJ alleged that the discrimination against the employee took the form of paying her lower wages than other similarly situated African and African-American employees and failing or refusing to take appropriate action to remedy the effects of the discriminatory treatment.
On February 27th, 2006, the Court (Judge David L. Russell) entered a Consent Decree, which ordered general injunctive relief, such as the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of race and retaliation, as well as specific injunctive relief including an increase in salary, and a fair, objective, non-retaliatory and nondiscriminatory consideration for positions. The Court retained jurisdiction of the matters covered by the Consent Decree for two years. The decree would expire within one year of its entry without further order of the Court.
It appears, however, that the intervenor found the terms of the Consent Decree inadequate. On the same day of the entry of the decree, the action was terminated without prejudice.
Having then been granted the motion to intervene, the complainant filed her own complaint on April 14, 2006, which recapitulates in further detail the alleged discrimination. These grievances include the defendant's failure to advertise the position of Chair of the Department of English, the appointment of a lesser qualified African-American to Chair from outside the English Department, requesting the intervenor to perform the majority of the Chair's duties and responsibilities, retaliating against the intervenor by removing her from the office space she had occupied for fourteen years, the withholding, without justification or good cause, of the intervenor's compensation earned for summer teaching responsibilities, and lower compensation in comparison to African-Americans. The intervenor complaint also states that the plaintiff has suffered and continues to suffer emotional and mental distress, harm to professional reputation, humiliation, embarrassment, economic loss, and loss of enjoyment of life.
On April 16th, 2007, an amended complaint alleged all of the above, and additionally, detailed another charge of retaliation. The complaint stated that the intervenor was continually discriminated against as a result of filing a Charge of Discrimination, i.e. objectionable and offensive treatment by the President, Vice-Presidents, and the Office of Human Resources, a prolonged and bureaucratic delay in obtaining the approval of the donation of medical leave to her husband, and the omission of her salary and salary schedules from the budget for fiscal years 2003-2007.
On August 9th, 2007, the court ordered a settlement conference set for September 11, 2007, at which an apparent settlement was reached. The settlement agreement resulting from the conference is unavailable. However, the action was administratively terminated without prejudice to the rights of the parties to reopen for entry of any stipulation or order, and terminated with prejudice if not reopened within 45 days.
On October 25, 2007, the intervenor filed a motion to clarify and/or strike the settlement agreement, and further moved the court to extend the time of the administrative closing order. In the motion, the intervenor states that she had received incorrect information about the unused leave she had accumulated throughout her tenure at Langston University, which she relied upon in settling the matter. On December 26, 2007, the court (Judge David L. Russell) granted the motion for extension of administrative closing order.
The parties reached a settlement agreement in which the plaintiff was to receive $183,240.00 in lump sum payments, of which $69,376.36 would go the plaintiff's attorneys. She would continue to work for 2007-08 academic year with the same pay as before, and then provided with a paid sabbatical. Her unusued sick leave would be exhausted, but she still could use up to five, and possibly five more, sick leaves for 2007-08 year. The university also agreed to pay short-term disability payments to the plaintiff's husband, also employed at the university.
On April 22, 2008, the defendant filed a motion to enforce the settlement agreement but the parties reached a private settlement before the motion was argued. This case is now closed.Jennifer Hau - 10/29/2007
Zhandos Kuderin - 07/17/2014