A former associate vice provost for information services at Kansas University has filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming he was harassed because of his religion and race and, ultimately, fired in 2009 for making complaints.
According to the suit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., Dilawar Grewal is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in India. He is a member of the Sikh religion.
Dilawar Grewal Lawsuit ( .PDF )
In the suit, which university officials said was baseless, Grewal alleges that a co-worker became upset when he was promoted to associate vice provost in August 2009. He said he became the subject of “open racial and religious slurs in the workplace.”
He alleged he was openly referred to as “looking like a terrorist” and that once a co-worker pulled his pony tail and said people were likely to see him as “a terrorist.” Grewal said he objected, and the co-worker claimed it was a joke, according to the complaint.
Grewal alleges he complained in writing to Ola Faucher, KU’s director of human resources, and claims she ignored his suggestion that the IT department undergo training for sensitivity and discrimination. He further alleges he was fired shortly after he complained to Faucher.
“Dr. Grewal was an at-will employee of the university and through the course of our defense we will demonstrate that his claims are unfounded,” said Jack Martin, a KU spokesman. “Since this matter is now in the judicial system, any further response will be reserved for our filings with the court.”
KU hired Grewal in Spring 2009 as a director of research information technology services, and he was promoted in August 2009 to associate vice provost for information services.
Grewal now is listed as an associate provost at Wagner University in New York, N.Y., according to the university’s website. Grewal and his attorney, Linda McFee, declined comment Monday.