San Antonio Employment Law Blog

Texas professors head to court to seek reinstatement

Businesses have to be careful these days, since firing someone based on race, gender, religion, or other factors can be seen as workplace discrimination. In Texas, workplace discrimination was in the news again as former employees of the University of Texas Brownsville, UTB, and Texas Southmost College, TSC, have sued the facilities claiming wrongful termination along with workplace discrimination. The three formerly tenured professors, two women and a man, claimed that they were wrongfully terminated and discriminated against due to their ages.

The Texas Faculty Association filed the lawsuit on behalf of the ex-faculty members in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Brownsville. The three faculty members, all of whom are over 40, claim they lost their positions due to the split of two facilities that had been unified. At the time of the split, any employee who was non-tenured was kept, and tenured employees did not have the protections they were previously offered. Instead, they were let go.

The lawsuit claims that because the facilities did not protect or keep tenured faculty members, the facilities were discriminating against faculty members over the age of 40. Additionally, the three faculty members allegedly did not have enough time to respond to their termination notice, and this resulted in the loss of income, benefits, and damaged reputations.

Tenure is a property right, according to the news, and this means that it cannot be taken without due process or good reason. Initially, the professors were allegedly let go, because the institutions believed the split of facilities would lead to lower enrollment. However, the opposite has happened, and that directly contradicts the alleged reason the university let go of the faculty members. The professors are seeking reinstatement and a jury trial, according to the news.

Source: University Herald, “Former Employees Sue UTB, TSC for Wrongful Termination” Stephen Adkins, Feb. 21, 2014

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