UT-Chattanooga worker’s lawsuit claims race, age discrimination

10:21 am | November 5, 2012

CHATTANOOGA (AP) — A former employee is suing the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, claiming race and age discrimination in her 2010 firing.

Karen Drake, who is black and over 40, alleges the university replaced her with a white woman, half her age, whom she had trained.

Drake worked for the university’s Development Department from 2006 until 2010.

She says in her complaint that she was the only black person working at the department at the time she was let go. She claims she had to endure the harassment of a co-worker who, among other things, would state loudly that she could not believe the department would hire blacks.

Drake says she was encouraged by her boss not to go to the school’s Human Resources Department with her complaint.

Drake also claims the school prevented her from finding work elsewhere at the college after she was laid off, in part because she had spoken out about her daughter’s hazing at a UTC sorority.

She is asking to be returned to her job, along with back pay and benefits, plus damages for emotional distress.

University spokesman Chuck Cantrell told the Chattanooga Times Free Press he could not comment on pending litigation.

Drake’s attorney, William Schwall, said the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Nashville already reviewed Drake’s claims and issued her a “right to sue” letter.

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