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Another former employee sued Collin College, alleging multiple college leaders discriminated against her because of her race and gender, created a hostile work environment, and retaliated against her.
The lawsuit, filed by Swee Lian “Linda” Wee on July 13, is the fourth filed against the community college in the past year.
Wee, who worked as the school’s director of continuing education from 2016 after serving as a teacher for four years, applied in 2019 for a newly created position called executive dean of continuing education.
In the lawsuit, Wee alleges Provost Bill King, his direct supervisor, rejected his application, telling him the college was looking to hire someone “who could run for C-suite executives” and who had a Ph.D.
The college then hired Karen Musa, a white woman from the UK who does not have a doctorate, according to the lawsuit, which said Musa had told several staff members “that she had been asked to ‘assume “the position of executive dean”.
The lawsuit says King then sent Wee a list of reasons he hired Musa for the job, including that Musa “was born near London, England.”
“The only difference between Ms. Wee and Ms. Musa is that Ms. Musa is white of British descent, and Ms. Wee is Asian of Chinese descent, born in Singapore,” the lawsuit states.
Musa became Wee’s supervisor. Wee alleges in the lawsuit that Musa immediately began “attacking” him, removed all of Wee’s direct reports, scheduled staff meetings that excluded Wee, and denied his budget requests.
The suit also names Musa, King, Board of Directors, Chairman Neil Matkin and Floyd Nickerson, Director of Human Resources.
Collin College spokeswoman Marisela Cadena-Smith said in a written statement that the school “looks forward to defending the claims in court and is exploring its legal options, including counterclaims, which may be available after further examination and evaluation”.
In February 2020, according to the lawsuit, Wee took family and medical leave to care for her husband, who was undergoing surgery. On the day of her husband’s surgery, Musa emailed Wee and told her she had to work while on leave, according to the lawsuit.
When Wee attempted to resolve the matter through the provost, King dismissed her concerns and told Wee she “would have to deal with tough bosses,” the lawsuit states. In July 2020, Wee turned to human resources and requested a transfer to another department.
The college denied his request. After being ordered to work while on leave and receiving his first negative performance review since joining the college, Wee filed a human resources complaint against King and Musa in February 2021, alleging they were engaging in abuse. discriminatory practices and authorized them, harassment, targeting and intimidation.
In May 2021, a college resolutions review panel, part of the college’s grievance process, dismissed Wee’s complaints. The lawsuit says it was a “mock” hearing because at least one member had direct ties to King and Musa.
“After the College failed to provide him with any workplace protection; deprived of an equal opportunity to progress within the College; repeatedly ignored and harassed after filing complaints; and continually subjected to unlawful and offensive behavior that no reasonable person should endure…on or about August 27, 2021, Ms. Wee was forced to resign, effective September 1, 2021,” the lawsuit states.
Wee is seeking between $250,000 and $1 million in damages.
Three professors had already filed lawsuits against the college and Matkin, its president.
In March, former history teacher Michael Phillips continued school, alleging retaliation for exercising his First Amendment free speech rights. Phillips’ lawsuit, filed in federal court, says he was fired because he spoke publicly about politically contentious issues such as the school’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the removal of Confederate statues. in Dallas.
Former history teacher Lora Burnett sued the school last year, alleging she was fired for public statements she made about former Vice President Mike Pence. According to Burnett, the college decided not to renew his contract due to “insubordination, the publication of private personnel issues that adversely affect college operations, and personal criticism from colleagues, supervisors, and/or those who just don’t agree with you”. Burnett said the college did not provide specific examples of how she violated college personnel policies.
She colonized with the school, accepting an offer of $70,000 plus attorney’s fees, although the school did not admit liability.
Another professor, Suzanne Jones, who taught education, sued the college last fall, alleging she was fired for publicly criticizing the school’s handling of the pandemic and for her work to create a campus local chapter of the Texas Faculty Association, a statewide higher education faculty. union which does not have the right to negotiate. The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression represents Phillips and Jones in their cases against the school, both of which are ongoing.
Disclosure: Collin College has financially supported The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the journalism of the Tribune. Find a full list here.
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