Labor & Employment

Former law librarian sues Texas school, alleging racial, gender discrimination

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A former law librarian at South Texas College of Law is suing the Houston school for alleged racial and gender discrimination.

Joseph Kelly Plumbar, who is black, claims that three white co-workers created a hostile work environment and eventually forced him out of his job, the National Law Journal reports.

The suit also alleges that the school didn’t follow its own disciplinary, harassment and performance policies.

Besides racial and gender discrimination, the suit alleges retaliation and breach of contract. Plumbar is seeking back pay, emotional damages and other compensation.

According to the complaint, the school hired Plumbar in 2012 to manage its library acquisitions, maintain relationships with vendors and teach legal research and writing to first-year students. In 2014, it says, two co-workers accused him of failing to complete an update that would give them access to the library’s online system. It also says the two co-workers changed his schedule after the fact to make it appear that he had been late on previous occasions.

The school moved Plumbar to part-time status later that year, the complaint says, but has not scheduled him for any hours, “constructively terminating” his employment.

Plumbar’s lawyer, Janeri Jael Rivero, said several other former black law library employees told her they had also experienced racial discrimination while working at the school. She also said that Plumbar, a licensed attorney, was being paid less than the people he supervised.

A spokeswoman said the school would not comment on pending litigation.

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