(JTA) — A former professor has sued Pace University in New York for discrimination, claiming observant Jewish and older teachers were pushed out of the math department.
Jonathan Gersch, who is Jewish and wore a yarmulke to the school’s Manhattan campus, said he worked as an adjunct math and statistics professor at Pace for more than 15 years, according to a New York Post report Thursday about his $500,000 lawsuit.
In 2016, a new department chair, Shing So, started cleaning house to bring in younger and cheaper staff, according to the lawsuit, which Gersch filed Wednesday in Manhattan State Supreme Court.
Gersch alleged that he was forced out under false pretenses after the university did not renew his position in March 2017.
His suit claims that soon after 2016, all of the “observant Jews” and 50 percent of the employees at the university for 15 years or more were let go.
“While observant Jews were under 8 percent of the 51 adjuncts, ALL of them — 100 percent — were pushed out after the 2016 academic year,” the suit says.
Gersch said “there had been friction” between him and the university “regarding making reasonable accommodations for Jewish holidays in the past,” the Post’s report quotes court papers as saying.
He filed a similar suit in February, which is still pending, according to the Post.
Marie Boster, a Pace spokeswoman, told the Post that the university “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,” she said.
So did not immediately return an email from the Post requesting comment.