The University of Houston has been sued by a former life sciences professor who claims her employment was unlawfully terminated.
Adriana Alcantara filed the lawsuit in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas on February 25, naming the University of Houston as defendant and alleging employment discrimination.
The lawsuit argues that Alcantara was harassed by an assistant professor, Dr. Leigh Leasure, while she was employed as a professor at the university, beginning in September 2007. Alcantara taught phycology, the study of algae.
According to the suit, Leasure yelled at Alcantara, prevented her from using essential lab equipment, and interfered with her experiments and recruitment of students.
The suit also claims that Leasure was a participant in Alcantara’s tenure evaluation, and that Alcantara was denied tenure on May 29, 2012. Alcantara alleges that she was denied tenure because she is a Hispanic female.
Federal law and Texas law prohibit employment discrimination based on race or gender.
The lawsuit seeks back pay and benefits, damages, attorney’s fees, interest and court costs. The case is Houston Division Court Case No. 4:14-cv-00463.
The University of Houston is a state research university with nearly 41,000 students and over 3,000 academic staff members.