2 say EDMC retaliated for discrimination complaints
Two admissions officers at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh claim its corporate owner, Pittsburgh-based Education Management Corp., retaliated against them after they filed discrimination complaints against the institute, their lawyer said.
He said the men believe they were targeted recently when the school adopted a dispute resolution policy that must be followed as a condition of employment and made it retroactive, to before the men filed their discrimination complaints.
In August, Lamont Jones, 47, and Michael Scott, 55, who are assistant admissions directors, joined Darrell Evans and an unnamed woman in age-discrimination claims with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Evans, 49, who had been an associate director of admissions, and the woman, who is in her 50s, were fired this year.
Jones and Evans included racial discrimination in their claims.
In October, Jones and Scott filed additional complaints with the EEOC alleging that because of their initial claims, EDMC targeted them with a policy requiring “employees, former employees and applicants for employment” of the corporation and its subsidiaries to submit to a dispute-resolution procedure, rather than legal claims, as a condition of employment.
The policy states that it is retroactive to July 1.
Amos Jones, a Washington-based lawyer who represents the four, said the EEOC has 180 days from the time of the filing to issue a decision on complaints.
The Art Institute declined to respond.
“We're not commenting on employee relations matters,” said Jacqueline Muller, vice president of communications and public relations for Education Management.
But Pittsburgh labor lawyer Sam Cordes, who is not involved in the case, said the retroactive policy could be subject to challenge.
“The whole thing comes down to why the employer is filing it at this point and this sounds suspicious,” Cordes said.
Last spring, Lamont Jones noticed that he was singled out for performance deficiencies after he complained about scholarship panels that did not represent minorities, said Amos Jones. The others allege that they too were subject to such warnings, while lower performing younger employees were not cited.
“The cycle began in April when (the Art Institute) started cycling out people in their 40s and bringing people in their 20s,” Amos Jones said.
“It's a bad, bad situation,” he said. “The Art Institute of Pittsburgh has had a fine reputation for nearly 100 years, but EDMC's business practices are wrapped around the wrong principles.”
The EEOC does not comment on pending complaints, maintaining they are private until a ruling is issued.
The publicly traded, for-profit EDMC has battled state and federal lawsuits alleging improper recruitment practices and heightened scrutiny over student retention and graduation rates. The corporation this year also saw its stock price plummet from $29.90 to $2.99 on Thursday. As enrollment sagged, the company downsized hundreds of employees at its schools across the country.
Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates third baseman Ramirez’s last ride is about winning a ring
- Steelers RB Archer trying to catch up after tough rookie season
- Steelers LB Timmons has grown into leadership role on defense
- Steelers notebook: Backup QB Gradkowski remains out with shoulder issue
- Dollars and sense: High cost of child care keeps many out of work force
- Former Cal U football player cleared of assault charges sues university, police, prosecutor
- ‘Real’ people, solutions at heart of GOP ad blitz in Pa.
- Penguins to appear on national TV 18 times in 2015-16
- Last option for former Jeannette Glass site: Pa. Supreme Court
- Rising East Liberty out of reach for Pittsburgh’s poor
- Ambridge’s PittMoss takes off with help from TV show, Mt. Lebanon native Cuban