The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

DL director takes college to court

By Karen Gavis/managing editor

A longtime TCC employee is suing the district because he thinks the college’s treatment of him compared to that of a female employee was discriminatory.

Director of distance learning Kevin Eason initiated the lawsuit and has requested a jury trial. The trial was originally set to be held in Judge Dana Womack’s courtroom in Tarrant County’s 348th District Court in early October but has been postponed because of a possible addition to Eason’s suit.

“Mr. Eason alleges that he has another claim against the college and wants the EEOC to determine the merits of the new claim before he proceeds with the pending lawsuit,” said TCC vice chancellor of administration and general counsel Angela Robinson.

Robinson said she expects an actual trial to take at least a week and there is currently no settlement offer on the table.

A continuation of a motion to compel hearing on the case scheduled for Nov. 29 has been postponed, but no date has been set.

“A motion to compel is a very boring fight between lawyers over documents that usually do not make their way into the trial,” Robinson explained via email.

Eason’s complaint said college officials accused Eason of having an inappropriate relationship with and showing favoritism to a female co-worker.

Eason was, therefore, reprimanded and placed on an action plan by his superiors before a thorough investigation was conducted and without documented proof, the complaint said.

The female employee whom Eason allegedly showed favoritism to was not placed on an action plan, the complaint said. Eason later filed a discrimination and retaliation charge against TCC with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as well as the Texas Workforce Commission.

Both Eason and the female employee deny that an inappropriate relationship occurred, the complaint said.

“This type of discrimination case is not only rare, but I have never seen one like it in the 12 years I have been representing the college,” said Robinson, who would not comment on the specifics of the case.

Eason also would not comment on the case but offered a few points about his record with the district in an email.

“I just started my 29th year of full-time service with TCC,” Eason’s email said. “For the past two years, I have directed the Blackboard Implementation Project in addition to serving as director of distance learning.”

Eason’s lawsuit also alleges he has been a victim of repeated racial discrimination. Among other things, Eason’s lawsuit asserts that TCC violated his freedom of speech by initially not allowing him to dispute the complaint against him.

TCC’s written response to the complaint says the college is a governmental entity, which means it is protected by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. The district denies all of Eason’s accusations and demands proof.

The district, represented by Law, Snakard and Gambill, has also asked the court to dismiss Eason’s lawsuit based on lack of jurisdiction in regard to subject matter. It also deems Eason’s claims of discrimination and retaliation as “frivolous, unreasonable and groundless.”

“Our firm does not comment on ongoing litigation,” said attorney Jennifer Covington from Gambill’s office. “That is a firm policy.”

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