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|Former ULM employee alleges sexual discrimination|
Lynda Huggins spent 31 years in the University of Louisiana-Monroe's computing center as a systems administrator.
Yet Huggins never made as much money as the men who worked in her department, according to a lawsuit scheduled to be heard next year in U.S District Court.
"Plaintiff Huggins has a degree in mathematics and extensive training in computer systems, yet was consistently paid less than comparable computer analysts at ULM, despite protestations as to the disparity of pay," the lawsuit states.
U.S. Judge Robbie James is set to hear the case in March, 2010.
Huggins sued the University of Louisiana System, which oversees ULM, under Title VII of the U.S. Code, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender.
Huggins' lawsuit also alleges violations other federal laws, including the Age Discrimination Employment Act and Fair Labor Standards Act.
According to the lawsuit, ULM violated the ADEA by "consistently paying her less than similarly situation younger employees."
Huggins' lawyer also contends that ULM fired Huggins when she complained.
"Plaintiff Huggins was then terminated without cause in retaliation for her complaints of discrimination in violation of federal law," wrote Jean-Paul Robert, a Gonzalez attorney who represents Huggins.
Winston DeCuir, a Baton Rouge attorney who represents the ULS, argued Huggins failed to exhaust all administrative options before filing her lawsuit as her contract required.
Also, DeCuir challenged the suggestion that the university had discriminated against Huggins.
"The defendants did not place this individual in the position to be harassed or discriminated against by any party or on any basis nor are the actions of the defendants those which would give cause to any reasonable person under the circumstances to believe that the actions taken were as a condition to their employment or were in retaliation of any sort," DeCuir said in court filings.
DeCuir also argued the ULS is exempt from prosecution in federal court because of 11th Amendment protections guaranteed individual states. Because the ULS is a state agency, DeCuir said the federal case lacks standing.
Huggins is seeking damages, including back wages, lost income and pain and suffering.