YSU Responds to Discrimination Lawsuit

By Jordan Unger and Rachel Gobep

UPDATE:  Youngstown State University filed a response to complaints by a former employee on Feb. 7, denying the claim that he was fired for being Muslim.

Mohammad Jadun filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio on Jan. 23. He alleged that his supervisor, Becky Varian, discriminated against him due to his religion, which caused him to lose his job.

The lawsuit states on Dec. 2, 2015, a Muslim man committed an act of terrorism, killing and injuring multiple people and alleges that on Dec. 9, 2015, Varian asked Jadun to come to a meeting in her office.

He alleged that while in her office she said, “You Muslims are terrorists and are killing Christians and Jews.”

YSU denied this claim in their response.

Jadun alleged that Varian forwarded an article to him via email titled, “Why do People Join Isis? Here’s what they say when you ask them.”

In their response, YSU admitted that Varian sent the email.

A performance review was conducted by Varian in January 2016. According to Jadun’s lawsuit, the review included “unsatisfactory findings for job knowledge, planning, administration, communication and professional development.”

The case stated that he was required to comply with a performance plan between June and August 2016 which Varian developed.

Jadun alleged that he did not receive complaints from YSU or Varian in 2015 and that students had positive reviews for him in 2015 and 2016.

He also claimed he was unfairly assigned to work all of the time slots at a YSU student resource fair without a second coordinator.

The lawsuit states that in the summer of 2016, students were contacted by Varian about Jadun’s performance. No other coordinator’s students were contacted.

Jadun alleged that the claims made by Michael Reagle, the former Associate Vice President for Student Services, and Varian brought unwarranted complaints to the YSU Human Resources Department.

He was then placed on leave and terminated from his position at the CSP, according to the lawsuit.

The university denied these claims in their response.

According to Jadun’s YSU evaluation conducted in July 2014 by Varian, he received six “needs improvement” and one “satisfactory” ratings. In January 2015, he received one “excellent” and six “satisfactory” ratings. In February 2016, he received two “satisfactory” and five “unsatisfactory” ratings.

Jadun did not file the lawsuit with a lawyer and asked for a trial by jury.

He asked for compensation for damages, payment in the form of back pay with interest and to be awarded punitive damages.

Jadun also asked to be granted reasonable attorney fees and costs by the university.

YSU asked Judge Benita Y. Pearson to dismiss the complaint. The university also asked to be reimbursed for costs and attorney fees.