Employee sues University for racial, age discrimination

A customer service staffer filed a lawsuit against the University last week claiming she was passed over for a promotion because of racial and age discrimination.

Mona Bernard, a 54-year-old black woman, alleged that GW hired a less-qualified and younger white woman, which caused Bernard pain and suffering, according to court documents filed Sept. 17. She is demanding the University promote her and award her compensation for the pay she would have received if she had been promoted initially.

Her complaint calls GW’s actions “malicious, willful, wanton and in reckless disregard” of her rights.

She alleges her director, Jim Schrote, who is white, chose a “demonstrably less qualified” woman who lacked a college degree and had only worked at GW for two years.

Bernard, an 18-year employee of the University who holds a masters of business administration, manages work orders and the University’s key depot offices.

Schrote declined to comment on the claims.

Bernard, who has held the same position since 2006, wrote in her complaint that her supervisors failed to notify her that someone else had received the job, and she instead learned about the decision after an email was accidentally sent to her. Bernard and her attorney did not immediately return a request for comment.

When she asked Schrote why he denied her the promotion, Bernard claims he responded that the other woman had “more creative ideas.”

University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard declined to comment, citing GW’s policy to not comment on pending litigation.

D.C. Superior Court has scheduled an initial conference for Dec. 20.

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