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Teacher claims retaliation after reporting exploitation of TAs

Florida readers may be interested in a lawsuit has recently been filed in a Superior Court against an out-of-state college as well as one of its staff members. The complaint was brought forth by a former lecturer at Amherst College who claims that her co-worker was exploiting teaching assistants to increase the number of students who took Spanish. After she reported the suspected wrongdoing, she claims the school fired her in retaliation.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff was told by another teacher in her department that she liked to select teaching assistants for Spanish classes based on their looks. She would allegedly choose the assistants based on their online photos and, if they were attractive enough, bring them on board. Apparently, she did this to encourage students to take Spanish who may not have done so otherwise.

One of the teaching assistants purportedly approached the plaintiff and told her she felt like a prostitute because of the way she was told to act by the other teacher. The assistant allegedly told her she was instructed to mingle with the students and attend gatherings to get to know them. Furthermore, the assistants were apparently encouraged to have sex with the students to further boost enrollment. This did not sit well with the plaintiff, and she brought her concerns to the department head. She claims the chairwoman told her that she would speak to the other teacher, and this caused a hostile work environment that was never remedied.

Ultimately, the plaintiff's contract was never renewed, and her complaint was filed with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A spokesperson for Amherst stated that the plaintiff's contract ended again because there were not enough students, and the school was uninformed of her complaints. The former teacher contends that the school's decision to fire her was because she disapproved of how the teacher assistants were being treated. The plaintiff is accusing Amherst and her co-worker of retaliation, wrongful termination and discrimination. Florida individuals who perceive wrongdoing should not fear for their jobs for reporting any suspect behavior, and those who face adverse employment actions for doing so have the legal right to pursue claims against their employers.

Source: masslive.com, "Ex-Amherst College lecturer files lawsuit alleging teaching assistants encouraged to sleep with students to boost enrollment", Diane Lederman, Dec. 30, 2015

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