College employee claims she was discriminated against for being Asian and female.
Collin College in Celina, Texas, has been hit with yet another complaint from a former employee, Swee Lian “Linda” Wee, 56, claiming its leaders are promoting a hostile work environment. The suit states that administrators “made the environment intolerable” and dismissed her grievances when she stepped forward. The plaintiff has alleged that she was discriminated against based on her race and gender and she is asking for $1 million in damages.
“They have made the environment intolerable for me,” Wee said, later adding, “I gave them countless opportunities to take my concerns…to try to seek resolution, but time and again, they have ignored, dismissed my concerns.”
Wee filed the lawsuit in mid-July and hers marks the fourth to be filed against the college in the last year. It names president Neil Matkin, Bill King, vice president and provost of the Collin College Technical Campus, Karen Musa, an executive dean, Floyd Nickerson, chief human resources officer, and the board of trustees as defendants.
Wee’s suit details her progression from being a professor at Collin for four years to being promoted into the position of director of continuing education. In 2016, Wee applied for the newly created position of executive dean of continuing education.
King, who was Wee’s direct supervisor at the time, said application was rejected because the college was looking for a candidate “who would be able to present themselves to C-suite executives” and “who had a doctoral degree.” Wee’s application tossed aside, Collin moved forward with hiring Musa, a white woman who also lacks a doctorate degree, and she became Wee’s supervisor.
“The only difference between Ms. Wee and Ms. Musa is that Ms. Musa is White of British origin, and Ms. Wee is Asian of Chinese descent, born in Singapore,” the lawsuit states. It further alleges that Wee was excluded from meetings and decision-making discussions from that point forward.
In 2020, Wee went out on leave to be with her husband who was experiencing medical issues. Musa reached out to her and asked her to come into work despite Wee’s husband being scheduled for surgery the same day. Later that year, Wee voiced her concerns to King, who dismissed them and “told her that she would have to deal with difficult bosses,” the lawsuit says. “Wee then filed a formal complaint with human resources and sought a transfer to another department, but she was denied,” according to the suit.
By early 2021, Wee had received her first negative evaluation and she filed formal complaint against King for “engaging in and allowing discriminatory practices harassment targeting and bullying towards her,” the lawsuit reads. “A Resolution Review Panel, which is part of the college’s grievance process, dismissed her complaints.” In fall 2022, Wee resigned “after the college provided her no protections in the workplace and repeatedly ignored her concerns.”
Collin College spokesperson Marisela Cadena-Smith responded that it was looking into the claims. She said, “The college looks forward to defending the claims in court and is exploring its legal options, including counterclaims, which may be available after further review and assessment.”