In February 2010, UC San Diego drew national attention after racial tensions began to emerge on campus, highlighting the school’s alleged lack in diversity and special programs for minority students. To resolve the issue, the school created a new position and hired a woman as the Director of Development for Diversity Initiatives. The new position was created to help ease racial tension at the school and to create a more diverse campus for students.
The woman hired for the position, a graduate of UC Berkeley, said that she was thrilled about the opportunity. However, as she began tackling the school’s problems with diversity and suggesting ways to make improvements, the woman said that the school did not support her efforts and eight months later, she was fired. The former UCSD employee is now filing a lawsuit against The Regents of the University of California citing wrongful termination.
Employers may have every right to fire employees who fail to take their work-related responsibilities seriously or who are incapable of successfully completing their work duties. But can an employer fire an employee for doing the exact job he or she was hired to do? The ex-UCSD employee claims that this is exactly what happened to her.
According to the woman’s lawsuit, she claims that she began addressing the schools diversity problems by pointing out some flaws in the system. She offered suggestions to resolve the problems in order create a more diverse environment for students and to make the school more accommodating for minority students. Instead of receiving support for her initiatives, the lawsuit claims that some of her co-workers complained about her efforts and the work environment became hostile. Eight months after accepting the position, she was fired.
The woman is seeking compensation for damages and the remainder of her contract. She claims that the lawsuit is more for the students at UCSD so that the school will understand the importance of fostering a diverse environment.
Source: 10News.com, “Ex-UCSD Staffer Says She Was Fired For Speaking On Diversity,” Feb. 28, 2012