CHARLESTON -– A grant writer for a southern West Virginia community college is accusing her former employer of race, and gender discrimination.
Margo LaTanya Brooks filed a wrongful termination suit against New River Community and Technical College and the New River Community and Technical College Foundation. In her complaint filed on June 29 in Kanawha Circuit Court, Brooks alleges she was victimized by New River allowing inappropriate comments directed at her due to her race, and gender, then later firing her because of it.
According to her suit, Brooks was hired sometime in 2008 to perform consulting and grant writing. It does not specific if she worked for New River, the Foundation or both.
Established in 2003 by a merger of the community college components from Glenville and Bluefield State colleges, New River provides two-year associate degrees to students in Fayette, Greenbrier, Mercer, Monroe, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Raleigh, Summers, and Webster counties. It has campuses in Beckley, Princeton, Lewisburg and Summersville.
The Foundation was part of the merger, and serves as independent, non-profit fundraising arm for the college.
During her employment, Brooks alleges she was "repeatedly subject to inappropriate conduct directed towards her based on her gender and race by [fellow] employees." Her suit does not specify the nature of the comments or who made them.
The harassment came to a head in January 2010 when she was fired. She alleges New River's decision to fire her was motivated by gender and race.
In her suit, Brooks maintains New River's acts "were so egregious and severe as to constitute a hostile work environment" in violation of the state Human Rights Act. As a result, Brooks alleges she was not only "annoyed [and] embarrassed" but also "suffered lost wages" [and] incurred fees and costs."
Brooks seeks unspecified damages. She is represented by Greg A. Hewitt with the Fayetteville law firm of Hewitt and Salvatore.
The case is assigned to Judge Carrie Webster.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number 11-C-1092