Professor files federal lawsuit accusing Tarrant County College of anti-gay discrimination

Jackie Gill, left, watches as Lambda Legal staff attorney Ken Upton speaks to a reporter Wednesday morning during a press conference announcing Gill’s employment discrimination lawsuit against Tarrant County College.


Jacqueline “Jackie” Gill today filed suit against a professor and a dean at Northeast Campus of Tarrant County College in Hurst, claiming that after serving as a full-time temporary English professor for about a year, she was denied the opportunity to apply for permanent position with the school because of the department chair’s bias against what he perceived as her sexual orientation.

Gill is represented in the lawsuit by Lambda Legal South Central Region staff attorney Ken Uptown, joined by pro bono counsel Benjamin D. Williams from the law firm of Gibsonb, Dunn and Crutcher. The suit names as defendants chair of Northeast Campus’ English Department, Eric Devlin, and Northeast Campus Humanities Division Dean Antonio R. Howell.

Gill said although she is a lesbian and has never tried to hide that fact, she had never talked about her orientation with Devlin or anyone else at the school.

Gill said that in October a female “dual-enrollment” student — a high school student who was also taking college classes — in Gill’s distance learning class cheated by stealing an exam and skipped some classes. The student’s high school counselor told Gill that the student has a history of disruptive behavior, and when the student dropped the class, Gill was told the situation was closed.

—  admin

Lambda Legal to file employment discrimination lawsuit on behalf of former Texas state employee

Lambda Legal is planning a press conference in Hurst on Wednesday morning to announce a federal employment discrimination lawsuit on behalf of a former state employee. Tom Warnke, a spokesman for the LGBT civil rights group, said this afternoon that he couldn’t release any additional details until the press conference, because the lawsuit has not yet been filed.

Below is what little info we have at this point. Stay tuned to Instant Tea for updates.

Lambda Legal to File Federal Employment Discrimination Lawsuit on Behalf of Former State Employee

WHEN: Wednesday, September 7, 2011, 10:00am.
WHERE: Holiday Inn Express & Suites, 820 Thousand Oaks Drive, Hurst, TX
WHO: Kenneth Upton, Jr., Supervising Senior Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal’s Southern Regional Office, Benjamin D. Williams, pro-bono co-counsel with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, and Lambda Legal’s client will be available for interviews.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Debating discrimination in Montana, West Virginia and the United Kingdom

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. A Montana House committee approved a bill Monday that would ban cities from enacting ordinances to protect LGBT people from discrimination. The bill, which cleared the committee by a 13-7 vote, would overturn existing LGBT protections in Bozeman and Missoula. The same House committee also blocked a proposal to ban anti-LGBT discrimination statewide, after a 14-6 vote against the measure. But really, what else would you expect in a state where the GOP platform calls for criminalizing gay sex and where tea party leaders like to joke about Matthew Shepard’s murder?

2. A gay coal miner who filed a discrimination lawsuit against his former employer is leading the push for statewide LGBT protections in West Virginia. Sam Hall, who filed a lawsuit against Massey Energy Co. last year, spoke at a rally Monday at the Capitol in support of anti-discrimination bills, as onlookers chanted, “stand with Sam.” Watch video of the rally above.

3. Across the pond, the United Kingdom’s Equality and Human Rights Commission is investigating whether gay-only hotels violate anti-discrimination laws. The EHRC, which recently found a Christian-owned hotel guilty of violating the laws for refusing to rent a room to a same-sex couple, says it must establish an “objective balance.” Owners of gay-only hotels fear that if they’re forced to rent to heterosexual couples, it could put them out of business.

—  John Wright