Jackie Gill was a full-time temporary professor at Tarrant County College who was told that she would be hired permanently if she successfully completed her one-year contract. Despite receiving high praise from colleagues, superiors, parents, and teachers, she was subjected to a lecture about how “Texas and Tarrant County College do not like homosexuals.” Gill had also been accused of “flirting” with female students by a high school student in one of her classes who cheated by stealing an exam, but there was always another professor in the room who could easily debunk the claim. Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit on her behalf for workplace discrimination, which she has now settled with TCC.
Though TCC assumes no liability in the settlement, they will pay Gill more than $160,000 and provide her with a positive letter of recommendation. In March of last year — when her suit was already underway — the university also passed an anti-discrimination policy that included sexual orientation, though it claimed the change was unrelated to the legal proceedings.
Gill is relieved the case is over:
GILL: It was important for me to bring this challenge, but I’m also happy it’s settled. I’m also pleased to know that there is now a written policy in place at TCC that hopefully will not allow what happened to me to happen to anyone else. [...] It’s been extremely difficult. There’s certainly been more than one occasion when I’ve cried. I think they fully expected me to just walk away. You can’t do that because then nothing ever changes.
Since leaving TCC, she has sought work at middle and high schools, and has also applied for numerous positions back at TCC. Despite the suit, she said she would like to be hired back.