Tuesday, January 23, 2001 Volume 66, Issue 80


 
 









 

Former employee sues UH for discrimination

Gor alleges UH violated Civil Rights Act by denying her a job

By Ken Fountain
Senior Staff Writer

A former lecturer in the College of Technology filed lawsuits Friday in federal and state courts claiming she was discriminated against and denied a job.

The plaintiff, Beverly Gor, alleges the University retaliated against her for supporting a faculty member's complaints of discrimination against another professor in the department.

Gor states in the complaint that in 1994, Department of Human Development and Consumer Sciences professor Mary Mohs sought her assistance in connection with a grievance Mohs had filed against Ira Wolinsky for gender discrimination.

Gor wrote a letter for Mohs "in which she detailed her own experiences with Wolinsky and the reports about Wolinsky that she had received from students," the lawsuit states.

The letter stated Wolinsky "had ridiculed her belief in Jesus Christ and also that he had repeatedly and openly disparaged the primarily female dietetics profession."

The suit claims that "Wolinsky learned of the letter and later complained to Gor that she should not have written (it), because it could be damaging to him."

In the summer of 1995, Gor, a Chinese-American licensed dietician who began working at the University in 1987, applied for the newly created position as director of a dietetic internship at UH.

Gor claims Barbara Stewart, the department's chairwoman, told her she would like to offer Gor the position, but "Wolinsky had commented that he did not want Gor to have that position because of the letter she had written in support of Mohs' complaint. Stewart then encouraged Gor to call Wolinsky and discuss the situation with him directly."

Stewart told The Daily Cougar on Monday that she could not verify Gor's account of the conversation and would need to research her records.

Gor claims that when she talked with Wolinsky, he said he considered her to be "minimally qualified" for the position.

When she pointed out letters of recommendation she had submitted, the lawsuit states that "his response was to question the objectivity of one letter because it was written by another Chinese-American," and he asked if the writer was related to Gor.

In August 1995, Gor assumed the internship director's job on an interim, part-time basis and re-applied for the full-time position. In October, she recommended a male student for the intern program.

"Wolinsky dismissed her suggestion by saying that the only reason Gor liked him is 'because of his plumbing,'" the lawsuit states. "Gor was offended by Wolinsky's comments and, when she asked what he meant, Wolinsky replied that he had been attracted to some of the female students."

Gor says she made an official complaint of this incident to the UH Office of Affirmative Action in December 1995.

In April 1996, the department's search committee chose Clint Stevens for the full-time position. Gor was offered only a part-time teaching position, the suit states.

A month later, Gor resigned as interim director and filed a complaint of retaliation and discrimination with UH and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Wolinsky, who said he had not yet seen the lawsuit on Monday, declined comment to The Daily Cougar.

It is the official policy of the University not to comment on pending litigation. Gor could not be reached for comment.

Katherine Butler of the Houston law firm Butler & Harris filed Gor's lawsuit, which alleges violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Butler said she filed the lawsuit in federal court Friday and immediately asked for a dismissal, then re-filed in Harris County Civil Court, as permitted by civil procedure.

She would not comment on legal strategy, but said she looks forward to resolving the case.
 

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