What do you get when you harass your Asian co-workers? A $60,000 Raise

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

This is just pretty crazy and even more puzzling after reading documents from Terry College's Office Of Legal Affairs - but let me catch you up to speed.

Apparently a teacher at Terry College named Barbara Caroll had accused department heads of being biased in favor of Asian professors on the tenure track and in pay scale - but if you check out the wording - she just seemed to have issues with people of Asian descent (and notice how if you're Asian you can't be American as well):

Both of these powerful people in our department are Asians. And since these two men 'took power' in our department, all new American hires are much lower-paid 'teaching fellows'. Many of the holdover Americans who have given years of service to this department in terms of research and teaching are paid dramatically less than Asians performing the same work.
At this point the Office Of Legal Affairs did an investigation into the accusations which they proved to be false, but in the course of the investigation, they actually found out that Caroll verbally attacked, harassed, and made discriminatory comments against co-workers in public because of their national origin and violated the non-discriminatory and anti-harassment codes creating a hostile work environment.

So Caroll got sent to non-discriminatory and anti-harassment classes, got documents placed in her employee file, and was told to cease and desist from making discriminatory comments about co-workers in public as well as through electronic communications (like listservs) - everything you would expect.

But here's where it gets crazy.

Even though she was the one doing the harassing, in order to stop her from bringing up a lawsuit against the college, the administration ended up reaching a settlement giving her a pay raise of about $60,000 dollars so she's now making $1450,000, and even though according to the settlement she has to retire in 2011, because retirement is based on the highest 24 months of salary she's not only getting $60K more a year, but her retirement benefits get increased substantially as well because of the settlement.

Now I know in some ways it's easier to just settle with people so they don't make trouble - but in this case?

What grounds does she have to bring up a lawsuit? Isn't the college worried about the Asian co-workers bringing up lawsuits now too (even though one left to be the dean at the University of Memphis)?

Like I said at the beginning of this post - it's crazy - and this is the message that it sends:

Harass and make discriminatory comments about your Asian/AA co-workers, get a slap on the wrist, and then pocket about $200K, increased retirement benefits, and keep your job for another three years.

Check out the article, documents, as well comments by Caroll herself here.