More Trouble for Houston Community College in Federal Discrimination Lawsuit Brought By Attorney Ben Hall
HBC NEWSPAPER REPORTS©
A racial discrimination lawsuit against Houston Community College working itself through federal court recently took a bad turn for the College. The lawsuit, filed by a former Black executive at HCC named Zelia Brown, alleges HCC systematically discriminates against Black employees and replaces them with less-qualified Hispanics. The suit alleges the chancellor of the College, Cesar Maldonado, a Hispanic, came to the College with a “Hispanic Preference Agenda” which unfairly displaces qualified Black employees. Brown alleges she was a victim of that discriminatory policy causing her to be constructively discharged from her job.
Brown also asked for her suit to be certified as a class action on behalf of other former and present Black HCC employees who have been victimized by HCC’s alleged discriminatory practices. In response, HCC’s lawyers filed motions asking the judge to deny the class certification and to dismiss the lawsuit entirely. The federal judge—widely known for dispatching unworthy lawsuits quickly— denied both of HCC’s motions and leaving the case active on the court’s docket.
The recent rulings dashed any hopes HCC may have had for a quick end to the embarrassing litigation. In addition to denying HCC’s motions, the judge also ordered the College to present four (4) HCC witnesses for deposition in the case. Plaintiffs had sought to take the depositions of Maldonado and human resources captains Janet May and Tom Anderson, but the judge denied that request for now. Plaintiff counsel Benjamin Hall said the first four HCC witness depositions will likely be of persons believed to have direct knowledge of facts alleged in the lawsuit.
HCC’s troubles did not stop there. After the judge denied a motion that would have added more plaintiffs to the Brown suit, nearly 100 more Black HCC employees filed a separate federal racial discrimination suit against HCC alleging they were also victimized by HCC’s discriminatory practices. A copy of the new suit can be found here:
Hall stated it is probable up to 50 more Black HCC employees will be filing discrimination suits against HCC soon. It was also disclosed that the same plaintiff lawyers suing HCC on behalf of Black employees have been asked to file suits against the College on behalf of Black students who complain they have been discriminated against by HCC’s “separate, but unequal” practice of underfunding campuses in predominately Black communities while pouring large sums of money and resources into building up campuses in majority Hispanic communities.
Some of the Plaintiffs in the various discrimination suits are starting to ask out loud whether HCC’s Board of Trustees, like the Penn State Board, were complicit in the College’s wrongdoing. They are questioning whether the individual trustees should be added to the lawsuits because of their knowing ratification of HCC’s racially discriminatory practices. If such suits materialize, the HCC trustees will have to explain how they allowed such discriminatory practices to continue for so long without corrective actions being taken, Hall said.