In an academic setting, professors and administrators are generally expected not to fraternize on an intimate level with those who are their subordinates. However, at one Texas university, such relationships — though frowned upon — were not reason for discharge. This is part of the reason that the school’s former track coach is alleging workplace discrimination in a lawsuit against her previous employer. She feels that she was the target of the workplace discrimination because of her gender and her race.
The African-American female coach, who took her track team to national victory six times, had a relationship with one of her players in 2002. She now says that knowledge of the relationship made her the target of workplace discrimination to the point that the school decided to fire her. At the same time she was involved with her student, she alleges that some of her male counterparts were having intimate relationships of their own with subordinates, and that those relationships were simply swept under the proverbial rug.
Although her relationship with her player had ended by October 2012, it was then that she was put on disciplinary leave, as the relationship had been made public by her former significant other. In November 2012, she was let go by the school, and she believes workplace discrimination was at the heart of the decision. However, the school did agree to allow her to resign on her own, which she did several weeks after they made it clear that she would have to leave one way or another.
She is asking the courts to award her $1 million as a result of what she considers an unfair firing. The former coach is seeking damages for mental pain, loss of life enjoyment, lost wages, future wages and costs associated with the workplace discrimination court case. It is unclear whether she would return to the same Texas university if given the opportunity.
Source: Yahoo! Sports, Ex-track coach sues Texas alleging discrimination, Will Weissert, Nov. 14, 2013