Gill v. Devlin and Howell

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08/02/2014 - 16:00
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08/07/2014 - 17:30
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08/09/2014 - 11:30
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Summary

Jacqueline Gill is a Ph.D. student and former high school English teacher who most recently worked as a full-time temporary professor at Tarrant County College's (TCC's) Northeast Campus in Hurst. Gill was hired in August 2009, and at the time was informed that it was customary to hire full-time instructors on a temporary basis first, and that teachers who complete the one-year contract term successfully are uniformly hired when the positions are made permanent. Gill received high praise from colleagues, superiors, parents and teachers while at TCC. However, Gill was also subjected to a lengthy diatribe about "homosexuals" and about how "Texas and Tarrant County College do not like homosexuals" by English Department Chair Eric Devlin after a former student who had been disciplined for academic dishonesty by Gill retaliated by falsely claiming that Gill flirted with girls during class, a claim Gill denied. Then, in June 2010, Gill alone of the contract teachers who entered with her in the summer of 2009 was not permitted even to interview for the teaching positions when they were made permanent.

Lambda Legal filed suit on behalf of Gill against Devlin and Antonio Howell, Division Dean of Humanities, Tarrant County College NE Campus, claiming Devlin and Howell are violating the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution by refusing to permit Gill to interview for a permanent teaching position and by interfering with the hiring process regarding Gill's application based on their perception that she is a lesbian.

History

  • September 2011 Lambda Legal files complaint in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
  • March 2012 Court denied a motion by TCC administrators to dismiss the lawsuit. 
  • July 2012 TCC and Gill agree to settle the lawsuit. The settlement agreement contains no admission of liability, but under the terms of the agreement TCC agrees to pay Gill more than $160,000 and to provide her with a positive letter of recommendation. In addition, although not part of the settlement, TCC now has a written policy prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Case Information

Status: Closed
Outcome: Victory

Plaintiff

Jacqueline Gill

Attorneys

Lambda Legal
Kenneth D. Upton, Jr.

Co-counsel/Cooperating Attorney
Benjamin D. Williams of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP