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John
John, Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Exclusively practice labor and employment law.
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I am a 62-year-old male university professor. I had a workplace

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I am a 62-year-old male university professor. I had a workplace harassment complaint filed against me by a Chinese woman professor. Even though I provided evidence that the specifics of her complaint were not valid a University review committee headed by the EEOC officer found me guilty. I have 20 days to appeal to the vice president in charge of ethics. I feel that this whole process is biased.
Should I hire an attorney to help with the appeal process and to ensure that my rights are protected? So far I think I'm getting screwed.

EmplmntLaw1 :

Hi thanks for submitting your question today. What is the basis of her complaint and what was your defense to the accusation(s)?

Customer:

She was assigned to write an accreditation report. She had work release time to write the document The work was not being done and so I Department chair assigned me part of the project. I have 30 years experience including multiple accreditation reviews. I wrote a factual objective accreditation report in which I had to identify that this woman's coordination of the program was not effective. We have had a long-term problematic relationship based on her unauthorized use of my creative property. One day we both arrived in the parking lot at the same time. I said to her, "I'm very frustrated that I am working night and day writing the document for which you received release time, that is not fair." That was the extent of our contact or communication since otherwise we avoid each other and do not talk. Based on these two issues she filed a harassment complaint

Customer:

The University committee headed by the Vice Chancellor for financial affairs determined that the"preponderance of the evidence" indicated that harassment had taken place. While the problems I have is that the EEOC officer who interviewed me writes the recommendation report. I was not allowed to see that report. Somehow that just doesn't seem right to me.

EmplmntLaw1 :

Is this a public university?

Customer:

Yes it is, Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne Indiana

Customer:

I realize I didn't only answer your first question. My defense was a 40 page document including multiple e-mails and other evidence showing that what I wrote in the accreditation document was factual.

Customer:

One of the problems I have is I don't know who within the University I can go to for advice or to feel that I am truly being defended.

EmplmntLaw1 :

Well it seems, frankly, like you're defending against a charge which you don't even know the basis of the allegation against you - is it race , disability, age or sex discrimination she is alleging.. Further, you're not even being provided the findings of fact made by the investigator, so how are you going to defend this.. I honestly think you should seek out an attorney, as the procedure of all this is really without due process. The first thing that I'd do in the matter is FOIA the relevant documents, or otherwise appeal the process in court. In short, my thought is you're just being run through the grinder here...there's really been nothing resembling due process that is owed a public employee.

Customer:

It looks like that is the route I will have to take. - What a pain in the ass. The allegation was workplace harassment.

Customer:

What is FOIA?

EmplmntLaw1 :

Any actionable harassment must be based on a class protected by law - race, sex, age, religion. So this is bazzar because nothing you've told me here remotely goes to harassment - definitely you had minor issues with her but that's not against the law - nothing an EEO investigator should be concerned with. FOIA is freedom of information act - the public is allowed access to documents and records kept by public entities.

Customer:

In the past I was told since she is a Chinese woman that she is protected class.

EmplmntLaw1 :

Unless your actions against her were based on her race, it is not actionable.

Customer:

Yep -- it looks like I need an attorney. Thanks.

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