Discrimination suit against Lamar slated for winter trial

David Yates Jun. 10, 2013, 6:34pm

A winter trial has been slated in litigation brought by an instructor who alleges Lamar University discriminated against her after she failed to attend a stage performance with a homosexual theme. 

As previously reported, Linda Ozmun filed suit against Lamar and Judith Sebesta, chair of the Department of Theater and Dance, on March 26, 2012, in Jefferson County District Court.

Court records show that on May 8 an agreed scheduling order was entered, calling for the case to be mediated by Dec. 16 or go to trial on Jan. 21, 2014.

In her suit, Ozmun says that she is a faculty member of the theater department, which encompasses theater and dance. Ozmun is a dance instructor, according to the faculty pages on the Lamar University website.

According to her suit, Ozmun alleges she asked to be excused from attending a show centered on homosexuality but was threatened with disciplinary action if she failed to attend.

“Because of her religious beliefs, plaintiff failed to attend the performance and as a result she was disciplined for her religious beliefs,” the suit states. “Defendants have discriminated against plaintiff on the basis of her religious beliefs in violation of the Texas anti-discrimination laws.”

Ozmun claims the incident has created a hostile work environment and caused her to be improperly denial promotions.

She alleges the defendants acted with malice, which entitles her to exemplary damages.

Beaumont attorney Barry Bennett of Eddins & Bennett represents Ozmun.

Assistant Attorney General Lars Hagen represents Lamar.

Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court, is assigned to the case.

Case No. B192-226

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