A former teacher at Prince George's Community College has won a $75,000 settlement with the school as the result of a successful reverse discrimination suit filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.
The plaintiff, Jeremy Grossman, said yesterday that in 1980 he had worked at the college in Largo for five years as a part-time clerical skills instructor. Grossman, who is white, then applied for a full-time position which was filled by a black woman whom he claims was not qualified for the job.
Grossman said he brought the issue to the attention of Joseph Shields, dean of evening and community education. Grossman said he got little response from the dean, so he filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, which ruled against him. At that time, he said, school officials began to harass him about selling a textbook he had written to his students, so he quit his job and filed the discrimination suit.
On July 6, Judge James R. Miller Jr. ruled that the college had violated Grossman's civil rights because the school had violated its selection criteria for job applicants. The judge found that the woman who interviewed Grossman for the new job had used subjective qualifications such as appearance instead of professional qualifications, according to Miller's law clerk Darlene Vorachek. "The college did not follow its own merit and affirmative action process," Vorachek said.
On July 19, Prince George's Community College decided to settle the case out of court, just days before the judge was due to set the damage awards in the case. Judge Miller approved the settlement.
Hartwell Edwards, a spokesman for the college, said yesterday that the board of directors decided to settle the case although they denied Grossman's charges.
Grossman said he was relieved to have the case settled after almost three years and that he will use the money for his new, Silver Spring-based business, Word Processing Training.