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IU faces lawsuit




Virginia LeBlanc, former director of the IU Hudson and Holland Scholars program, has filed a federal lawsuit against IU for alleged gender discrimination and unfair pay.

Her complaint began with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and then traveled to the U.S. district court for the District of Maryland after she received a right-to-sue letter from the agency.

LeBlanc alleges unfair and inequitable hiring practices, a hostile work environment, verbal sexual harassment and intimidation.

“The claims in this lawsuit are without merit and the university intends to vigorously
defend itself against these allegations,” IU spokesperson Mark Land said in an email.

LeBlanc’s complaint began on Sept. 13, 2010, when LeBlanc filed a grievance with the IU Office of Women’s Affairs for disparate treatment, unequal pay, hiring process and sexual harassment, according to her Statement of Facts included in the suit.

The Office of Women’s Affairs has since been dismantled.

Then, in late November, LeBlanc and another female colleague filed a complaint against the Special Assistant to the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs.

The complaint was for inoperable work conditions, disparate treatment and professional misconduct. It was left unanswered, according to LeBlanc’s Statement of Facts.

LeBlanc then sought solace with the Executive Vice President and Provost.

Her issue was re-routed directly to the President’s Office.

The provost, a woman, has since left employment from IU.

Then, in late December, LeBlanc again lodged a complaint at the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs concerning disparate treatment, hostile climate/inoperable work conditions, harassment, unequal pay, ignored seniority, professional misconduct and intimidation by the Special Assistant and the Associate Vice President for Administration and Culture.

This complaint was met with “threats of disciplinary action” by the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs should LeBlanc persist, according to her Statement of Facts.  

In January 2011 LeBlanc and another female colleague met with the Office of Employee Relations to file a complaint. She was directed to the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs to address her grievance.

LeBlanc expressed concern to an Employee Relations Specialist about the recommendation, as the Division and Vice President allegedly caused her complaint.
 
She then sought relief from other University offices, including the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and the HR University Organizational Development.

The Special Assistant to the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs turned down these requests.

LeBlanc resigned Aug. 22, 2011.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in Greenbelt will handle the case.

— Nona Tepper

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