(September 13, 2019 / JNS) A Jewish professor formerly employed at Pace University in New York City filed a discrimination lawsuit on Wednesday, claiming that observant Jewish and older teachers were wrongfully fired from the math department.
Jonathan Gersch, who is seeking more than $500,000 from the university, said he worked as an adjunct math and statistics professor at the school for more than 15 years, but starting in 2016, the new department chair, Professor Shing So, fired all the “observant Jews” and 50 percent of the 15-year-plus employees to make room for younger, cheaper staff, the Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit charges.
“While observant Jews were under 8 percent of the 51 adjuncts, ALL of them—100 percent—were pushed out after the 2016 academic year,” claims the lawsuit.
Gersch said “there had been friction” between him and the university “regarding making reasonable accommodations for Jewish holidays in the past.” He believes that he was forced out under false pretenses after the university did not renew his adjunct position in March 2017, according to the New York Post.
“Gersch believes that he was wrongly discharged based on his religious identity as an observant Jew,” the lawsuit states.
Gersch filed a similar suit in February, which is still pending.
Marie Boster, a Pace spokesperson, said “Pace has a zero tolerance policy against discrimination in the workplace. Under the university’s policies, if we receive a complaint, we investigate thoroughly and take appropriate action.”
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