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Universities are not exempt from Federal Laws banning discrimination.

Daytona State College is looking to settle three separate lawsuits against the college for more than $650,000, including a harassment case by a former employee and a discrimination complaint by three students who are deaf.

The college has been sued three times from 2009 through 2011. Most notably there have been sued for sexual harassment and discrimination by a female worker, Kathleen Flanagan working in the college’s television station. And more recently, they faced another suit involving three students, Laura Koschuk, Suzanne Bergman and Paige Allison, who are deaf, claiming discrimination involving lack of disability services, such as interpreters and note-takers.

The first of the two notable suits occurred after Flanagan received positive performance evaluations from 2002 to 2008 under her previous supervisors and then she alleges she was forced to resign after being harassed by her direct female supervisor at the schools television station. Flanagan claimed Susan Johnson harassed her and made “inappropriate sexual gestures.”

Flanagan said she complained 10 times to officials and no action was taken. The college denied the claims. The supervisors Johnson’s employment contract was not renewed last year and administrators at that time said it was “somewhat” related to the lawsuit.

The Florida Commission on Human Relations, according to Flanagan’s complaint, found “reasonable cause” to believe she was subjected to “discipline, harassment, sexual harassment and discharge based upon her sex (female)” and/or in retaliation for her complaint.

The other case mentioned above, concerned three students who filed a lawsuit with the help of the National Association of the Deaf alleging that the college denied them “effective communication,” such as sign language interpreters and auxiliary aids, so they could succeed, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“We are just glad the (college) has assured us that accommodations are going to be provided” for any students who are deaf, he said.

These two cases along with a third breach of contract case are all being considered for settlement to avoid trials. Universities are not exempt from following federal anti-discrimination statutes concerning the ADA, Sexual Harassment and Retaliation laws. Universities can seem like big entities to case in a suit to defend against your rights but this should not prevent someone from seeking justice and the Harman Firm has had a number of suits against universities and colleges.

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