USC Lecturer Files Lawsuit Against School Claiming Discrimination, Harassment

A University of Southern California lecturer has filed a lawsuit against the college claiming her career has been “crippled” due to the college’s and her director’s discrimination and harassment. Gina Nahai alleges that director of the Master of Professional Writing Program, Brigdhe Mullins, discriminated and harassed her due to her Jewish-Iranian background, preventing her from being promoted to assistant professor, though she is the most qualified candidate, according to the lawsuit.

Nahai originally took her complaints directly to the university, when the college claimed her allegations were “without merit” and instead advised her to leave the college, according to the lawsuit. Nahai, however, alleges that Mullins was “hostile and dismissive” of her, cutting her from school marketing materials, cutting her hours below “living wages,” and repeatedly addressing her nationality and religion with disdain. Nahai claims Mullins often referred to Iranian Jews as “you people,” and that at a 2009 lecture, Mullins told Nahai before she gave a speech on Iran that “I’m a playwright and a poet: I don’t need to know about Iranians and Arabs.”

The lawsuit alleges that Nahai tried to bring her concerns personally to Mullins in 2012, but that the director slammed her door in the plaintiff’s face in what was described as a “frightening assault.” Further complaints against Mullins include blocking Nahai’s students from scholarships, preventing her from participating in an alumni association, excluding her from L.A. time book panels, and vetoing requests for special guests to Nahai’s lectures.

She is seeking damages for lost earnings, benefits, bonuses, salary increases, punitive damages and an injunction for employment discrimination and harassment, retaliation for protesting discrimination, failure to prevent discrimination, harassment and retaliation and negligent hiring.

Discrimination based on national origin or religious preference in hiring, interviewing or on the job is illegal and can take a significant emotional and financial toll on victims exposed to such harassment. Employees of all origins and religions are entitled to the same benefits and opportunities as their co-workers. Our California labor law attorneys understand the difficulty it can be to work in a hostile environment, and we have been fighting for victims of employment discrimination for nearly four decades.

If you feel you have been discriminated against in the workplace, contact our Los Angeles discrimination attorneys today to discuss your case.

Kesluk, Silverstein & JacobLos Angeles employment attorneys

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