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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Former instructor alleges hiring discrimination

Jacqueline Gill (left) watches as her lawyer Kenneth Upton (right) conducts a press conference after filling a lawsuit against two TCC administrators. Their complaint accuses the two of refusing to interview her because she is a lesbian. Photo courtesy The Dallas Voice
Jacqueline Gill (left) watches as her lawyer Kenneth Upton (right) conducts a press conference after filling a lawsuit against two TCC administrators. Their complaint accuses the two of refusing to interview her because she is a lesbian. Photo courtesy The Dallas Voice

By Bethany Peterson/editor-in-chief

A former NE English instructor filed a lawsuit against her former bosses alleging that they kept her from her teaching job because she is a lesbian.

The complaint filed by Jacqueline Gill accuses English department chair Eric Devlin and humanities dean Antonio Howell of not allowing Gill to interview in the spring of 2010 for a permanent teaching position because of her sexual orientation.

The lawsuit seeks compensation for lost pay, said Kenneth Upton, Gill’s lawyer from Lambda Legal.

“I hope she gets the chance to interview for a job,” he said. “The idea they would eliminate a perfectly good candidate with a good track record is ridiculous.”

People also need to know government entities cannot discriminate against employees or applicants because of sexual orientation, Upton said.

Both Devlin and Howell declined to comment. The college will not respond until after it has been served a copy of the complaint, said Angela Robinson, the district’s legal counsel.

TCC adopted a policy in April stating employees and applicants would not be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation.

Gill was hired as a temporary full-time English instructor on NE Campus in August 2009. Both Devlin and Howell were involved in the hiring process, according to the complaint.

Over the next year, she received high praise from students, colleagues and superiors, Gill said.

In October 2009, several of her students reported a classmate had stolen a test and attempted to pass it around. Gill reported the student to Devlin. The student dropped the class, and Gill was told the student “had a history of disruptive behavior and attacks on teachers,” according to the complaint.

Then in November 2009, Devlin told Gill the same student reported that Gill had flirted with girls during class. Gill told Devlin she had not. No other reports were filed against her, according to the complaint.

Devlin then gave her a “lengthy diatribe” about how Texas views gays and lesbians ending with “Texas and Tarrant County College do not like homosexuals,” Gill said in the complaint.

Nine days later, Devlin did a routine observation of one of Gill’s classes and told her he enjoyed it and she had done a good job, Gill said.

Devlin observed her class two more times, once on April 5, and again on April 19, according to the complaint.

In May, Gill and the other temporary instructors who had been hired at the same time were told seven temporary positions were being converted to permanent positions, and they were encouraged to apply for the new permanent positions, according to the complaint.

All the temporary full-time instructors who had applied were interviewed except for Gill, according to the complaint.

All of those applicants were hired permanently, but Gill was not, “though her experience, credentials, and job-performance feedback met or exceeded that of those who were hired,” according to the complaint.

The complaint stated Devlin, who screened applications, did not forward hers to the hiring committee.

Gill met with Howell in August 2010. Howell said he didn’t know why Gill hadn’t been interviewed, according to the document.

After Gill told Howell of her conversation with Devlin about homosexuals, Howell went to speak with Devlin and didn’t communicate with Gill after that, the complaint said.

Gill’s emails to then-vice president Jane Harper and NE Campus President Larry Darlage received no response, according to the complaint.

Gill was not assigned any classes for the spring 2011 term. Since then, Gill has applied for 32 different positions at various TCC campuses without being hired, according to the complaint. She has not found employment elsewhere either.

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