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CUNY former employee alleges multiple counts of discrimination

A City University of New York employee is claiming that he was fired by the College of Staten Island because of his gender, age and ethnicity. The 63-year-old Russian man had coached and directed the university's swim team since 1995, and during his tenure, he was named CUNY coach of the year on five different occasions. In addition to CUNY and CSI, the lawsuit named the NCAA as a defendant.

The lawsuit claims that other staff and CSI employees taunted the swim coach with anti-Russian comments during his time with the school. The complaint also alleges that the school targeted his largely Russian-American children's swimming club, which had been renting out the college's facilities. The club, where the coach was a volunteer, had been paying an annual rental fee of $17,000 until 2011, when the school raised the rent to $150,000; the nonprofit community swimming club ultimately could not renew its license.

The NCAA claims that the coach violated the association's ethical regulations and improperly solicited visas for international student athletes. The coach often brought foreign students to the U.S. to join the CSI swim team. The coach's attorney says that the coach went beyond working the hours that he was paid for and that he was treated like no more than a pool boy who was expected to maintain the pool. Four nighttime supervisors were hired to fill the coach's role after he was fired.

As evidence that he was fired due to age discrimination, the coach notes that a 25-year-old coach was hired at a much higher salary to replace him. To support his gender discrimination claim, the coach says that four female assistants were hired in just a few years, and all four received significantly higher starting salaries than he was given in 1995. Employees who suspect that they are being discriminated against in the workplace may want to consult with an attorney.

Source: Staten Island Live, "Axed CSI swim coach files $25 million wrongful-termination lawsuit; alleges age, ethnic bias", Frank Donnelly, September 06, 2014

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