Wednesday, December 17, 2008

UAB Has More HR Headaches

My former employer, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), seems to have lost all ability to manage human beings.

You would think an institution of higher learning might have a grasp on that by now. But I guess you would be wrong.

We've written extensively about my wrongful termination after 19 years of service--and I have filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a precursor to a lawsuit against UAB. Much more is coming on that.

We have written about a lawsuit filed by Rosalia Scripa, a professor of engineering and former assistant provost who has been a faculty member at UAB for more than 30 years.

We also have noted a case against UAB involving medical trainees from India. That case recently became international news and shows signs of becoming a colossal headache for the folks on Southside. We have much more coming on that case, too.

Now comes word of a discrimination lawsuit filed by Horace Huntley, who has taught history at UAB for more than 30 years.

Huntley alleges that the university has discriminated against him and denied him fair pay because of his race and age.

"Basically he just feels like he hasn't been treated fairly in his salary over the years," says Byron Perkins, Huntley's attorney from the Cochran Law Firm.

According to the lawsuit, Huntley asked Provost Eli Capilouto to correct the pay disparity, and Capilouto suggested that Huntley retire.

Capilouto also is a central figure in the Scripa case. That lawsuit alleges that Capilouto asked Scripa to alter figures on a study regarding faculty salaries and suggested that Scripa sign a letter stating she was stepping down from her provost position for "family and personal reasons."

Guess who shows up in the Huntley case, issuing a "no comment" on UAB's behalf? Why, none other than Dale Turnbough, the "spokesperson" who wrote my bogus termination letter.

In other words, UAB's spokesperson on employment matters is someone who herself practices employment discrimination.

Do we see a pattern developing here? Counting credit for sick time, I have more than 20 years of service at UAB; Scripa and Huntley have more than 30 years.

The Huntley and India cases involve people of color. All four cases involve charges of discrimination based on age, gender, race, or ethnic origin.

While UAB is mismanaging its own employees left and right, it jumps in bed with Birmingham businessman William Cobb "Chip" Hazelrig, who has a horrifying record of misadventures on the highway and a number of curious (some might say troubling) political and business associations.

What is the message from UAB? It seems to be:

"Hey, if you give us $5 million, you can wreak all kinds of havoc in public places, and we don't care one bit.

"But give us 20 to 30 years of professional service, and we are likely to cheat you on the job. Be particularly aware if you are over the age of 50, are female, or have dark skin. Then, you are definitely on our radar.

"And woe to the employee who doesn't toe the conservative Republican line. If you don't kneel at the altar of Bob Riley or Alice Martin, you are toast.

"Should we have to follow federal laws, even though we have our hand in the federal trough to the tune of some $400 million a year? Heck, no. We want cash without accountability.

"And if you get screwed, we'll be sure to put Dale Turnbough front and center as a glowing example of the way we handle employee relations."


Anonymous said...

Get a life.

Anonymous said...

I have been with UAB for just under two years and witness on a daily basis how UAB and their HR Dept discriminate, intimidate and retaliate against their employees. There is a desperate need for leadership intervention throughout the entire organization. We all should be treated with respect and dignity no matter how prestigious the place of employment may be.