In 2009, when Jackie Gill was hired as a temporary English professor at Tarrant County College in Hurst, Texas, she had every reason to believe she’d have a good shot at being made a full-time faculty member. That is, until her chair started railing about how the school “[did] not like homosexuals.”
Despite praise from administrators, colleagues and students, Gill, who is openly lesbian, wasn’t even invited to interview for several openings in her department. Her chair accused her of flirting with female students despite the fact that there were always other instructors in the room.
Gill was also subjected to what she characterized as a lengthy diatribe about “homosexuals” and about how “Texas and Tarrant County College do not like homosexuals” by English Department Chair Eric Devlin.
In September 2011, Lambda Legal filed a federal discrimination lawsuit on her behalf. Today the organization announced Gill and TCC had come to a settlement with no admission of liability. As a result, the school will pay her more than $160,000 and provide her with a positive letter of recommendation.
TCC has also added a policy prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
“It was important for me to bring this challenge, but I’m also happy it’s settled,” says Gill. “I’m also pleased to know that there is now a written policy in place at TCC that hopefully will not allow what happened to me to happen to anyone else.”