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USC professor sues for discrimination

An author and adjunct professor at the University of Southern California has accused the school and a program director of discriminatory practices that have damaged her career and caused emotional anguish. The professor filed a workplace discrimination suit against the school and the director of its masters writing program in California's Superior Court. The suit alleges that the director was bigoted and held back the professor's career because of the professor's Jewish-Iranian heritage.

In the suit's 17-page filing, the professor claimed that she had been repeatedly refused a promotion from adjunct professor to assistant professor despite the fact that she was the most qualified candidate for the job. She alleges that the program's director had been combative towards her since 2008, when the director took over the masters writing program. According to the professor, on several occasions the director had been dismissive of the professor's heritage, referring to Jewish-Iranians as "you people."

The professor said that her career was severely damaged when the director made a change to the requirements for promotion to assistant professor positions. In 2010, the director planned to change the program's masters degree from a terminal degree to a non-terminal degree. The change affected the professor's candidacy for an assistant professor position because her degree would be considered non-terminal even though the position required a terminal degree.

The school dismissed the professor's allegations and said they are without merit. That's not an uncommon stance among employers in discrimination cases, which often forces employees to seek legal aid in rectifying the situation. An attorney with workplace discrimination experience could help an individual who is in a similar situation as the professor's. The attorney could examine the details of the discrimination, prepare and present the case in court and negotiate any possible settlement.

Source: Courthouse News, "USC Condones Discrimination, Author Says", Matt Reynolds, September 16, 2013

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