A former employee of the UTC development department has filed suit in Chancery Court, alleging that she was fired due to her race, gender and age.
Karen M. Drake brought the complaint against UTC and trustees of the University of Tennessee.
Ms. Drake, who said she is black and over 40, said she was hired Sept. 11, 2006, by Nathaniel Pinkard, who was then the only black staff member in the department. He later retired.
It was claimed that another employee with the same job title and duties, Susan Wendorf, constantly harassed her. The suit says she once stated in a loud voice so that the entire office could hear, "I didn't think they would hire blacks for this department."
Ms. Drake said she reported the incident to director Pat Branam and was told she would talk to Ms. Wendorf and not to report it. She said the alleged harassment continued from Ms. Wendorf.
The suit, filed by attorney Bill Schwall, says in the fall of 2009 a white female around 21 years old was hired. It was claimed that she was trained to do the job duties of Ms. Drake.
Also in the fall of 2009, the suit says Ms. Drake's daughter and herself were assaulted by members of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Ms. Drake and her daughter sent a notice of intent to sue to UTC.
Ms. Drake said she was summoned to the office of Ms. Branam on March 19, 2010, and informed that she was being discharged.
The suit says she was given several different reasons, but all were "pretextual and false."
The complaint asks that Ms. Drake be rehired and receive back pay and damages for humiliation and embarrassment, pain and suffering and emotional distress.