4 female business professors at UL Lafayette report harassment within department

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Four female business professors have come forward with complaints of gender discrimination and harassment regarding male coworkers within the B.I. Moody III College of Business detailing instances of hostile conversations and verbal abuse, The Daily Advertiser reported.

Lise Anne Slatten, Lucy Henke, Patricia Lanier and Gwen Fontenot filed complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Louisiana Commission on Human Rights in July against multiple professors in the business college. Citing Titles VII and IX regarding gender-based discrimination and retaliation, all four women mentioned David Baker, an associate marketing professor.

The complaints also mention Ron Cheek, James Underwood and Joby John.

Lanier said she filed a ULPD report against Baker, whose alleged loud verbal abuse made her fearful he would become violent.

Henke wrote that Baker became physically threatening during an annual review and also “unjustifiably targeted” Slatten with false accusations.

Slatten alleged that Baker belittled her during a faculty meeting, suggesting she was a spy for Fontenot. She said Underwood and John further escalated the conversation and Baker’s aggression toward her.

Fontenot, who served as the college’s interim dean until July, alleged the four men participated in “bullying and character assassination” during the search by filing “frivolous grievances” and writing claims of unethical behavior.

Months before the women filed complaints, Underwood filed a complaint Feb. 24 stating he was denied salary increases and promotions that were awarded to “less-qualified females.”

Baker filed an internal complaint with the university’s human resources office against Fontenot, Henke and Lanier.

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