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If a performance evaluation calls a female employee ‘abrasive,’ is it sexist?

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Her duties as an instructor or as an assistant professor included teaching community health courses and maternal and child health (MCH) courses, getting grant funding, and supervising doctoral students.

The UNTHSC employed the woman via one-year teaching contracts, which it would issue annually unless it would notify the employee about nonrenewal. Her performance reviews from 2015 through 2018 provided that she met or exceeded expectations in most categories.

However, the professor appealed an evaluation in the September 2018 review. She claimed that the then-department chairperson’s use of the term “abrasive” to describe a woman was inherently sexist. The school’s dean disagreed and found the comment reasonable.

In December 2018, the school posted a position for a tenure-track MCH professor. The plaintiff applied, but the school instead hired Stacey Griner, a nontenure-track assistant professor under 40 years old. In January 2019, the school had an open position for the new department chairperson. Again, the plaintiff applied and was not chosen.

In February 2019, the UNTHSC informed the plaintiff that it was not renewing her contract as an assistant professor. It alleged that she refused to cooperate with changes to its master’s in public health internship program.

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