TITLE VII RETALIATION, HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT, FMLA INTERFERENCE AND RETALIATION LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY(MSU)
On October 28, 2009, an Associate Professor at Morgan State University, a Nigerian of Ibo origin filed a lawsuit against the college, its Chairperson for the English and Language Arts, Dolan Hubbard as well as its Director of Human Resources, Armada Grant for:
- Retaliation and Hostile environment under Title VII,
- FMLA Interference
- FMLA Retaliation
at the Federal District Court of Maryland, (Baltimore Division), Case number : WMN-09-2855.
According to its website, Morgan State University, a Maryland State Institution is a Public Urban University that serves the educational needs of a growing diverse society.
The Plaintiff, Dr Rose Ure Mezu, who is currently MSU’s Associate Professor in the English and Language Arts Alleges that Armada Grant, MSU’s Director of Human Resources and Dolan Hubbard, MSU’s Chairperson for the English and Language Arts wrongfully interfered and denied FMLA, when she took leave to care for her daughter who had suffered subarachnoid hemorrage following a cerebral anuerysm and underwent emergency brain surgery in August 2009.
Plaintiff, further alleges that Dolan Hubbard and Armada Grant retaliated against her for filing previous EEOC charges and lawsuits. Dr Mezu also alleges that Hubbard threatened her with discipline or termination without cause on a weekly basis throughout 2008 and 2009, sought out students to make complaints about her and subjected her time sheets to intense scrutiny. The complaint against the defendants outlines a long history of previous allegations of discrimination and retaliation against Dr Mezu as context for the current charges. Dr Mezu alleges that over the years, complaints to university officials about the discrimination and retaliation went unheeded.
In a memorandum decision issued on March 18, 2010, the presiding judge allowed Dr Mezu to amend her complaint to add recent acts of retaliation when Dr Mezu alleged that she was threatened with termination, was not paid for several months even though she was on campus performing her duties, risked losing her health insurance and suffered other serious injuries from lack of income. The complaint was amended on June 4, 2010.
Commenting about these allegations, Dr Rose Mezu’s attorney, C. Valerie Ibe, Esq., West Hills, California, of the Law Offices of C. Valerie Ibe said
“Federal law clearly prohibits employers, and certainly their highest level officials, from interfering with an employee’s FMLA rights, retaliating against that employee for excising it, discriminating, retaliating and creating a hostile and abusive working environment. We look forward to vigorously representing our client and obtaining the remedies to which she is entitled under the law.”
“Our laws and our citizens demand that we take an aggressive, proactive role in removing workplace barriers, whether attitudinal or organizational, that deprive people who are not of American Origin the freedom to compete and to achieve to their fullest potential.”
“When Dr Rose Mezu spoke out against the discrimination and retaliation, Morgan State University, Dolan Hubbard and Armada Grant made a bad situation worse by punishing her for exercising her federally protected rights.
“We hope that by filing this lawsuit others who believe they have been discriminated and retaliated against will feel that they can come forward and share their experiences and concerns.”
“We hope this lawsuit will teach another lesson: FMLA laws absolutely prohibit the interference and retaliation alleged. Federal civil rights laws absolutely prohibit the exclusion, retaliation and discrimination alleged, and the court can provide a remedy for injustice.”
Ms Ibe also called on anyone with knowledge of the discriminations and retaliations to come forward—“In order to prevail against a large institution, plaintiffs need people with courage to come forward and speak out. Otherwise, justice will never be done.”
For additional information or a PDF copy of Dr Rose Mezu’s Complaint and Amended Complaint, contact: