College system demoted, fired woman because of race, suit claims

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Nov 2, 2012

HOUSTON - Harris County resident Melba Martin accuses the Houston Community College System of firing her for complaining about a demotion, recent court documents say. 

A lawsuit filed Oct. 24 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas alleges Martin "was denied a promotion because of her race, denied employment opportunities, retaliated against for exercising her employment rights and endured a hostile work environment."

The suit explains that the plaintiff, whom HCCS hired in October 1992 and was the defendant's assistant library department chair at the time of the events in question, was passed over for the head chair position in violation of the school's policy and procedures.

The subject job was made available by a retirement.

According to the original petition, the respondent appointed a white female who apparently had less experience to fill the unexpired term of the library department chair.

Martin, an African American woman, asserts HCCS "discriminated against her by not announcing that the department chair position was up for election and thus preventing her from applying for the library chair appointment."

She further shows the defendant retaliated against her by stripping away many of her responsibilities and authorities as well as not properly instructing her as to using her benefits under the Family Medical Leave Act prior to dismissing her.

A jury trial is requested.

Martin is representing herself.

Case No. 4:12-CV-3177

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