Woman suing GW did not report discrimination, University argues

GW is trying to undercut a claim that a University Police Department officer discriminated against and assaulted a housekeeping worker, who sued GW last year for more than $1.3 million.

Rebecca Ashitey, who said she was attacked in the Marvin Center in 2011, never reported instances of discrimination, which she claimed to have faced for months, according to documents the University filed last month.

She did not file a complaint with GW’s Equal Employment Opportunity office, which investigates claims about discrimination, or report any form of discrimination to the officials who responded to the alleged assault, according to the documents.

GW defended UPD officer Jeremy Cates, contending he followed proper protocol by taking hold of Ashitey when she tried to enter the building early in the morning without her GWorld. When she resisted the officer, the two fell to the ground, according to GW’s documents.

Ashitey filed the lawsuit in 2012, almost a year after the incident. D.C. Superior Court has scheduled a mediation session Dec. 5 for the two parties.

Ashitey was later treated at GW Hospital for wrist, elbow and shoulder sprains after officers handcuffed her. Hospital staff told her she could return to work in two days, but GW claims she instead went to see other physicians and did not return to work until late January.

She spoke to the Marvin Center’s director of operations the same day, but “gave no indication that she thought what happened was discriminatory,” the University contends.

Ashitey called the Metropolitan Police Department in the afternoon, reporting that she had been “beat up by a security guard,” but MPD declined to prepare a report.

She later filed a claim for workers’ compensation with GW for “damages which were sustained as a result of a job-related injury” caused by an assault by a UPD officer.

Capt. Michael Glaubach, following UPD protocol, reviewed the incident because Cates had used force. He concluded that the officer’s actions fell within UPD guidelines and legal standards, GW claims.

Ashitey had previously complained that Cates repeatedly asked for her identification, date of birth and purpose in the building. But GW claims she “did not complain of or make any reference to possible discrimination” from Cates, who was hired in 2010, according to the court documents.

Raymond Baldwin, who represents GW in the case, deferred questions to the Office of Media Relations. University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing GW’s policy to not comment on pending litigation.

Ashitey’s attorney could not be reached for comment before publication time.

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