A former employee of the University of South Florida’s history department has sued the university over claims of sexual harassment and discrimination. The history professor alleges that while she was employed by USF, she was subjected to gender discrimination, sexual harassment and disability discrimination by one of her colleagues.
According to the historian, who filed her lawsuit in U.S. District Court, the department chair at USF Tampa spread untrue rumors about her and sexually harassed her. The department chair also told students about her previously undisclosed medical condition.
At USF, the ex-professor taught modern Jewish history, German history, historiography, European women’s history, gender theory and history and the history of eugenics and medicine. The lawsuit alleges that when the man who served as the historian’s department chair assumed his position of authority over her, he began to subject her to inappropriate and uncomfortable conversations of a sexual nature. Allegedly, the department chair told the historian that when she received glowing reviews from her students it was because of her “doll face.”
The historian further alleged that her department chair revealed to others that the historian had requested special rooms due to her medical condition. The department chair also spread rumors that she was faking her medical condition so that she could receive extra vacation time and other preferential treatment.
Florida teachers, professors and other workers who have had similar experiences to this woman’s story may want to reflect on the possibility that they have been victimized by sexual harassment. Sexual harassment at work is a serious violation of employment laws. Victims who successfully navigate their cases may be able to receive financial compensation for lost wages, lost opportunity, psychological turmoil, career damages and more.