Employment Discrimination Update: SUNY Professor Awarded 600k

Employment Discrimination Update:

After nearly 5 years of litigation, Jason Zhou, a former finance professor at SUNY IT, received a verdict on his claims that he was unlawfully discriminated against by University officials. As reported in various news oulets including the Chronicle of Higher Education, a jury sitting in the U.S. District Court in Syracuse found in Zhou's favor and awarded him $600,000 in back pay.

In 2007, university officials had declined to renew Zhou's contract after a long review process. Zhou had claimed that he was discriminated against during the review process in retaliation for his complaints about discriminatory conduct towards Asian faculty members. In their defense, the State sought to prove that the decision was instead motivated by student complaints about Zhou's teaching style.

Ultimately, the jury sided with Zhou, who presented evidence that an administrator offered to protect him and two other Asian faculty members from negative personnel evaluations in exchange for providing assistance on a research project. Zhou refused and complained about the conduct to school officials. Zhou asserted that when his contract came up for renewal, his harasser was permitted to exercise an undue influence on the review process, ultimately leading to a decision not to renew his contract.

A number of state and federal laws protect employers from discrimination and harassment in the workplace based on sex, race, age, disability, and other such immutable characteristics. For more information on these laws, see (http://www.albanypersonalinjuryblog.com/2013/05/2-million-award-in-employment-discrimination-lawsuit.shtml).

Dreyer Boyajian has extensive experience fighting for individuals who have faced harassment or discrimination in the workplace. If you believe that you've been the victim of workplace harassment or discrimination, contact our office to speak with an experienced employment discrimination attorney.


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