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(Larry D. Moore/CC)

A University of Texas at Austin professor is suing the university after a supposed race-related incident garnered retaliation by a supervisor.


History professor and plaintiff Alberto Martínez said the incident took place in the spring of 2018, after he distributed a report highlighting racial disparities in pay and promotions within the history department.

The lawsuit states that Martínez alerted his supervisor that there was "discrimination" and "marginalization" of Hispanic employees in the department, and that he was then appointed chair of the new "Committee on Equity" to review governance, salaries and promotions in the department.

Martínez drafted a report titled, "Report: Equity in Salaries and Raises," which included compensation records that revealed unequal pay and promotion in the history department, primarily among Black and Hispanic employees. The report was distributed on Oct. 15, 2018, according to the lawsuit.

Four days later, Martínez was told by a supervisor that the equity committee would be disbanded. Instead, the committee was maintained but the supervisor continually created subcommittees and appointed chairs to them without permission from Martinez.

Subsequently, the supervisor ceased meeting with Martínez in favor of the new subcommittee chairs. The lawsuit stated that the supervisor accused Martínez of creating a "toxic" work environment, making discriminatory and anti-semitic comments, sexual misconduct and degrading his female coworkers. The supervisor also reported Martínez to UT's Office of Inclusion and Equity, or OIE.

The lawsuit states that the supervisor's accusations are baseless and "entirely false." After eight months of interviews and investigations, OIE declared the supervisor's allegations against Martinez as false, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit states that based on the evidence, "it is clear that (the supervisor's) actions constitute retaliation against him for engaging in a protected activity" and that the supervisor hindered and undermined Martínez's work on the committee.

Martínez is seeking an injunction prohibiting UT from engaging in unlawful practices, "additional equitable relief as may be appropriate such as a raise to parity with White comparators, promotion, front pay, and court costs," attorneys fees and additional damages.

Austonia has reached out to UT for comment.

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