Former employee sues UH
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
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
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.