University of Chicago Faces Discrimination Lawsuit

discrimination, Naperville employment law attorneyFor many employers, the idea of intentionally discriminating against an employee may feel like something that could never occur in their company. Conscientious business owners understand the importance of providing equal opportunities to workers of any race, gender, age, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation. There are, of course, federal labor laws that protect the rights of workers with the intent of preventing discrimination in the workplace and providing recourse to those who have been discriminated against.

As a business law attorney, I fully understand the importance of and the need for such laws, and I have helped many of my employer clients develop a hiring and retention strategy that recognizes the rights of all employees. Unfortunately, however, discrimination in the workplace is a problem that continues to plague our nation, our state, and even our city, as a recently-filed lawsuit against a local post-secondary institution alleges.

Complaint and Right to Sue

After filing an initial complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a doctoral candidate at the University of Chicago received a notice of her “right to sue” the school for discrimination in August of this year. The Indian-American woman officially filed her lawsuit in federal court in Chicago this week, alleging that she was the victim of discrimination on the basis of race and national origin as well as retaliation by the institution.

Alleged Discrimination

The woman’s suit states that she began working for the school’s Center for HIV Elimination in March of 2015 and, within a few months, started noticing patterns of inequality. She says that white and nonwhite staff were regularly segregated at the center and that nonwhite employees earned less and had less scheduling flexibility than white workers

The lawsuit also claims that two faculty members at the center were helping the woman with her doctoral dissertation until she was fired. She alleges that the faculty members said that she should stop making discrimination completes if she wanted to complete her dissertation. The woman also says that she was not paid for consulting work that she did and that she was asked to stop working on projects intended for publication.

The suit is seeking a $1 million judgment against the university’s board of trustees. If the woman’s allegations are found to be true, the resulting verdict could cause serious public perception issues for the University of Chicago in addition to the monetary damages.

Protecting Your Business

Owning a business and maintaining a hired staff means that you must be attentive in making sure that the rights of your workers are not compromised in any way, intentionally or unintentionally. To learn more about hiring and retention strategies that comply with anti-discrimination laws, contact an experienced Naperville business law attorney. Call 630-756-1160 for a confidential consultation today.



Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Chicago Tribune