OXFORD — The University of Mississippi has until the end of the month to file a response to a lawsuit from a former business manager who alleges she was fired because she is black.
The Oxford Eagle reports Ginger R. Walton also alleges in federal court documents that she was also fired for refusing to participate in schemes to misuse funds.
Walton’s lawsuit was filed Feb. 28 in federal court in Oxford. The university has 30 days to reply.
Walton began working at Ole Miss in 1993. She was promoted to business manager in 2001.
Walton says she was the only black accountant in the Office of Research. She alleges she was being set up for termination.
She claims she was excluded from all meetings, especially planning meetings and only given limited information on decisions affecting her position and that many of her duties were given to fellow white employees.
She also claims an administrator authorized the purchase of football tickets for congressional staffers; payment for travel accommodations of congressional staffers; and, authorized reimbursement to herself for expensive dinners, hotel lodging, airfares, gifts to and liquor for congressional staffers.
In April 2011, Walton was told she was being terminated for unsatisfactory job performance, but a bad job evaluation would not be processed if she agreed to resign, which she did.
In November 2011, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reviewed Walton’s claims and reported it was unable to conclude any findings of discrimination.
Walton is seeking lost wages, attorney fees, court costs and unspecified punitive damages.
Ole Miss attorney Lee Tyner, in a statement, called Walton’s claims “outlandish.”
“The EEOC investigated this former employee’s discrimination claims and made no findings of discrimination. This former employee is now making another attempt at these claims, this time through the legal system.
“Her lawsuit includes new charges that are equally without merit and unfairly question the activities of university staff who follow regulations to the letter, including procedures for hosting routine visits by members of our congressional delegation and their staff,” Tyner said.