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In the News: Former Penn State Professor Seeks Punitive Damages after Workplace Discrimination

On Sept. 5, former Penn State assistant professor of dance, Donna Dunmire, filed a federal lawsuit against the university, claiming she was subject to unjust retaliation and discrimination because she voiced her concerns regarding physical assessments conducted by the school’s musical theatre program. She filed the suit in U.S. Middle District Court, claiming the university’s actions violated federal civil rights laws as well as the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. Dunmire also believes her contract wasn’t renewed because of these complaints.

In September of 2014, not long after beginning her job with Penn State, she learned that students were required to undergo an off-campus physical assessment as part of the freshman seminar. Dunmire expressed her concerns at a faculty meeting that these assessments are degrading and make the students uncomfortable. Dunmire alleges she mistreated following this meeting. She was disallowed to choreograph a faculty dance show. At a performance evaluation in May of 2015, Dunmire said she complained to the School of Theatre Director at the time, Dan Carter, about her unjust treatment but nothing was done.

In August of 2015, freshmen received an email regarding the necessary physical assessment at an off-campus location. Females had to wear fitted shorts and sports bras while males had to wear fitted shorts and a tank top. Female students allegedly had their pictures taken from several angles while wearing these outfits. Some were directed to diet and exercise.

The filing claims these assessments negatively impacted the students emotionally and psychologically, including significantly exacerbating an eating disorder in one student while others harmed themselves.

In May of 2016, Dunmire learned that her contract wasn’t going to be renewed when it was set to expire on June 30, 2017. Although, her job performance was rated “very good.” She is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, along with the reinstatement of her position or payment of the equivalent of lost salary and benefits.

If you’re in a situation like Dunmire or you are in need of a real estate assessment in Lancaster County, PA or another nearby area, contact Kozloff Stoudt Attorneys. To do so, please call 610-370-6700. Our legal team can also help in many other situations like if you’re bitten by a dog or involved in a motorcycle accident in Berks County, PA.


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