Employee sues for discrimination

A housekeeping employee is suing the University for upward of $1.3 million, claiming she faced racial and gender discrimination, assault and negligent supervision.

Rebecca Ashitey filed a lawsuit in D.C. Superior Court Sept. 1, alleging that a University Police officer had discriminated against her since May 2011 and assaulted her five months later.

Ashitey worked 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. shifts in the Marvin Center and claimed in her complaint that she faced an “endless barrage of questions” from an officer – identified in the complaint as J. Cates – at the building’s entrance before being allowed to enter. She is a citizen of Ghana and a resident of Alexandria, Va.

All individuals entering the Marvin Center outside of business hours are required to show identification, but Ashitey alleged that Cates also asked for her name, social security number and date of birth, in addition to her GWorld identification number, each time she arrived to work starting May 2011.

Ashitey began working at GW in 2001, according to court documents. She also claimed she was assaulted by the officer on Oct. 17, 2011.

Cates allegedly “attacked her from behind and threw her to the ground,” according to court documents. Other UPD officers arrived on scene and allegedly handcuffed her.

Ashitey claims she was then taken into a room for a short period of time before being released, and later experienced “intense pain” and visited GW Hospital, according to court documents.

She claimed she had to miss at least 12 weeks of work and has undergone physical and emotional therapy as a result of the incident.

University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard declined to comment on whether or not Cates is still employed at the University, saying GW does not comment on pending litigation.

Sherrard also declined to comment on whether or not UPD was notified of the allegations.

Ashitey and her attorney, John Davis, declined to comment.

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