Cal Poly professor claims racial discrimination over proposed partnership with Saudi university

A former Cal Poly dean has filed an employment lawsuit in Southern California, alleging religious and racial discrimination, defamation and wrongful termination, according to Cal Coast News.

Consulting an Orange County employment attorney or Riverside employment lawyer is critical to protecting your rights when unfair labor issues occur in a university setting. Frequently, an employee has invested years or decades earning the protection of tenure. When promotional or advancement issues arise under such a system, discrimination issues can result in an employee being unfairly passed over for a promotion or other recognition.

In this case the former dean of the College of Engineering filed the employment lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Dec. 7. The suit involves his unsuccessful effort in 2008 to assist a Saudi Arabia university in establishing an engineering program. The complaint lists as defendants Cal Poly’s Provost and Vice Principal of Academic Affairs as well as an engineering professor and a blogger.

He is seeking an order forcing the university to reinstate him to his previous position, as well as unspecified monetary damages. He was hired as dean in 2005 and demoted in June of this year. The lawsuit alleges the defendants were responsible for a series of racist and defamatory attacks during negotiations with the University of Saudi Arabia.

The CalCoastNews reported in 2008 that the project with the Saudi Arabia university was itself discriminatory, indicating it would not welcome women, Jews or gays.

Other media reporting on the issue included the Los Angeles Times and NPR’s California Report. A media report indicated that the dean was let go “after years of controversy, high staff turnover and faculty discontent.”

He was also forced to step down as the head of the department of mechanical and aeronautical engineering at North Carolina State University, amid similar reports of dissatisfaction, according to media accounts. He held that position from 1999 to 2004.

The blogger is accused, among other things, of circulating a picture of Osama Bin Laden wearing a Cal Poly jersey. He contends it was in reference to Cal Poly’s proposed relationship with the Saudi Arabian university.

If you need to speak to an employment attorney in San Bernardino about an issue of discrimination, sexual harassment, wage dispute, or a violation of worker’s rights, contact the Employment Law Team for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call (877) 529-4545. Serving Santa Ana, Ontario, Riverside and the entire Los Angeles area.