Mar 26, 2010 12:16 PM by Melissa Canone
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A 22-year veteran of the LSU Police
Department has filed suit against the university, claiming she was
denied the position of chief of police because she is a woman.
Maj. Martha Helen Haire, who holds a bachelor's and master's
degree and is an FBI National Academy graduate, alleges in her
state court lawsuit that she was "clearly qualified for the
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in state court in Baton Rouge.
"Petitioner contends that she has been denied promotion and
promotional opportunities and that she has been harassed on account
of her gender, female," the suit states.
Haire also claims she has been "subjected to illegal
retaliation/reprisal on account of her whistle-blowing activities
consisting of protesting and opposing gender-based discrimination
in the workplace," the suit adds.
Haire is represented by lawyer Jill Craft.
"Unfortunately, gender discrimination is alive and well in our
public institutions," Craft said.
LSU spokeswoman Christine Calogne said the school does not
comment on pending litigation.
Haire's suit claims that when LSU posted the opening for the
position of police chief, applicants were required to possess at a
minimum a college degree.
Lawrence Rabalais was named the university's interim police
chief in August despite not having a college degree. The school
said at that time the decision to make Rabalais the permanent chief
"will be contingent on completion of his degree," the suit
Rabalais on Jan. 5 issued Haire the lowest performance
evaluation she had ever received in her 22 years at the LSU Police
Department, "even rating her as below satisfactory for 'job
knowledge and technical skills' for essentially the same job she
had been performing for several years," the suit contends.
Rabalais became LSU's police chief Jan. 28, the suit says.
Haire is seeking an unspecified amount of damages for "lost
wages and benefits, loss of promotion and promotional
opportunities, loss of earning capacity, severe and extreme
emotional distress and mental anguish, humiliation and
embarrassment, loss of reputation and standing in the community,
and all such other damages "
Her suit has been assigned to state District Judge Janice Clark.