Investigator finds discrimination at UCLA research center

Frank S. Clowney III

A new report claims that an outside investigation at the University of California, Los Angeles, discovered that female staff are working in a hostile environment in the research center for Alzheimer’s disease. The center is part of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

A university administrator said in a letter to the staff in March 2015 that an investigator determined that some men were discriminating against three women. Additionally, the administration had not properly responded to previous discrimination complaints. The investigator handed in the report in October 2014 and noted that there has been an atmosphere of hostility, conflict, mistrust and tension at the center for about 10 years. Women are being treated in a demeaning, unprofessional manner, the report added.

The administrator’s letter did not identify the men and women involved in violating campus rules, but it did note that there was at least one instance of retaliation against a woman for reporting research protocol issues. The letter added that the center’s workplace environment consists of research, patient care and teaching. A representative for the medical school said that workplace discrimination of any kind is opposed at UCLA. The purpose of the letter was to detail the measures that the university is taking in response to complaints that female faculty submit in good faith, she added.

When people think of employment discrimination, they may not consider that professors, researchers and other faculty members at universities could become victims. Discrimination laws apply to these individuals just the same as they do to other workers. When faculty members report their dissatisfaction to their superiors but do not receive appropriate action, they could obtain the assistance of an employment law attorney in the preparation and filing of a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Source: The Fresno Bee, “Report: Hostile workplace at university Alzheimer’s center,” The Associated Press, April 19, 2015