Career instructor alleges sexual harassment forced resignation

David Yates Sep. 25, 2008, 4:47am

Claiming she was sexually harassed at a company Christmas Party, Dawn Dunn has filed a suit against her former employer, Kaplan Inc., which does business in the area as Texas Careers – Beaumont.

Dunn's suit was filed Sept. 10 in Jefferson County District Court

According to the suit, Dunn was hired by Kaplan in February 2007, first as the director of student services, then as a dental assistant instructor and program chair at the Texas Careers - Beaumont campus.

According to its Web site, Texas Careers is a higher education institution general education, professional skills and career-focused educational programs. Texas Careers is part of Kaplan Higher Education Corporation, a division of Kaplan Inc., which is a subsidiary of The Washington Post Company. The Web site states that Kaplan had revenue of more than $2 billion in 2007.

"On Dec. 7, 2007, while attending a mandatory faculty Christmas party at the Ten Lounge on Crockett Street in Beaumont … plaintiff was subjected to unwelcome sexual harassment, comments, and touching by Greg Garrett, the executive director," the suit says.

On Dec. 11, 2007, plaintiff reported such sexual harassment to defendants per defendants' employee manual. On Dec. 18, 2007, plaintiff was suspended without pay. After being allowed to return to work, plaintiff was retaliated against by her supervisors as well as several other coworkers.

"As a result of such harassment and retaliation, plaintiff resigned from her position on March 18, 2008."

Dunn alleges Kaplan made her working environment "intolerable" and is suing the company for past and future back pay, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment, plus exemplary damages and attorneys' fees.

Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Kaplan Higher Education Campuses consists of more than 70 schools nationwide, each separately accredited by one of several national or regional accrediting agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Education. The programs are geared toward local employment needs.

Before filing her lawsuit, Dunn filed a charge with the Texas Workforce Commission, Civil Rights Division, alleging violations of Chapter 21 Employment Discrimination of the Texas Labor Code.

She is represented by Steve Parkhurst of the Dies & Parkhurst law firm.

The case has been assigned to Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd Judicial District.

Case No. E182-393

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