Julie Hermann, who was recently hired by Rutgers University to forge a new path for their athletics program has become the center of a storm which could turn out to be yet another Rutgers controversy. The issue is two-fold: Accusations of her misconduct in a coaching job she held in the 90s and; A 2008 sex discrimination lawsuit at Louisville when she was a senior athletics administrator.
In the 2008 case, an assistant track and field coach said she complained to Hermann about sexist behavior and discriminatory treatment by the head coach. Three weeks after taking her complaint to the human resources department, the assistant coach, Mary Banker, was fired.
The revelation of Banker’s lawsuit which holds Hermann largely responsible for Banker being fired, will probably only intensify the roiling dispute at Rutgers over the hiring of Hermann in the wake of the Mike Rice abuse case. Rice, the former men’s basketball coach, was seen berating players at practice in a video broadcast by ESPN. The video led to Rice being fired and Tim Pernetti, the athletic director resigning after Rutgers officials were criticized for suspending Rice instead of firing him when they learned of the video.
State legislators, private donors, and other critics have been very vocal about Hermann’s hire. In fact, some have asked her to resign.
Perception can be reality in discrimination cases
In the 2008 lawsuit, Banker was awarded $300,000 for mental and emotional distress, $71,875 in lost wages and $149,325 in attorney fees by the jury. However, a Kentucky appeals court overturned the verdict. Banker’s attorney is now asking the Kentucky Supreme Court to hear the case. But whether this case is ultimately decided in or against Hermann’s favor, it is likely she will always be haunted by the alleged discrimination and it will follow her wherever she goes.
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No one sets out to get embroiled in employment discrimination lawsuits but it happens. An experienced NY employment defense lawyer can help you understand the potential pitfalls of handling employees and offer guidance on how to avoid mistakes. To discuss your employment policies and issues, contact us online or call 718-275-6700 today to schedule an appointment.