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Camden County College Professor William T. Lavell Files Discrimination Lawsuit Against Employer

William E. Cleary Sr. | CNBNews


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BLACKWOOD, NJ (April 12, 2021)--William T. Lavell, a Camden County College Professor, a Caucasian, has filed a discrimination lawsuit against the college claiming he is being paid less money than professors who are African-Americans.

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Lavell has been employed by the college since 1995. During that period, the 66-year-old Maryland resident has held the positions of Assistant Professor, Professor, Interim Dean, and Department Chair.

In September 2020 Lavell submitted an Open Public Records Act request (OPRA) to the college seeking salary records for all college employees. As a result of that request Lavell, according to court documents, discovered stark racial disparities in salary between himself and his similarly situated, non-Caucasian counterparts, including Professors Melvin Roberts, and Lawrence Chatman, 

Court documents show that Chatman’s salary in 2020 was $137,157 and Roberts’ salary for 2021 $142,606. Lavell, by contrast, would earn $91,923 in 2021. Chatman, Roberts, and Lavell all held the same position, Professor. Further, Lavell had three professional degrees in his field of concentration as compared to Chatman, who had on, and Roberts, who had two 

On November 23, 2020, Lavell submitted a complaint of race discrimination in the form of a detailed memorandum to Donald Borden, College President; David Edwards, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs; John Steiner, Dean; Roberts; Jacqueline Galibiati, Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, Advancement, and Strategic Initiative; Kathleen Kane Executive Director of Human Resources; Teresa Smith, Dean of Academic Affairs; Susan Choi, Associate Professor; Rita Connoll, Assistant Professor and Chair of Faculty Association; Joseph Diaco, Professor and Faculty Negotiations Team Member; and Nicholas DiCicco, Associate Professor, and Faculty Negotiations Team Member. 

In his complaint, Lavell set forth a comparative analysis of the racial disparities in compensation between himself and African-American professors.  Lavell proposed adjustment of his compensation to a rate commensurate with his similarly situated, non-Caucasian counterparts.  

Seven days later Kane rejected Lavell's request. Furthermore, Kane failed and refused to instigate or address Lavell's complaint of race discrimination. The college has refused to adjust Lavell's salary to a rate equal to his African-American counterparts. 

Lavell is asking the court for punitive damages, liquidated damages, compensatory damages for future pecuniary losses, pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and other non-pecuniary losses as allowable; 

He is also seeking post-judgment interest, costs of suit, and attorney and expert witness fees as allowed by law. Lavell is asking the court for a jury trial.

He is being represented by William Rieser, Esquire of the Sidney L. Gold and Associates Law Firm, Philadelphia. The suit was filed in United States District Court, Camden City, on March 26, 2021