A former lecturer at the Baylor University School of Music claims in a lawsuit that school officials discriminated against him and breached a contract while snubbing him for tenure and firing him.
Lawrence Streetman, who now lives in Richmond, Kentucky, is seeking $700,000 in damages, including lost tuition for his children, in his lawsuit against Baylor, filed last week in Waco’s 74th State District Court. Streetman filed the lawsuit himself and is not represented by an attorney.
Streetman worked three years in Baylor’s voice division and was named one of Baylor’s “Most Impactful Educators” in January 2017, according to the lawsuit. Despite a good job performance review the year before, Streetman was not granted tenure and was fired in February 2017.
Baylor spokesman Jason Cook said the university has not been served with the lawsuit and declined comment.
Streetman’s lawsuit alleges Baylor violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Texas Whistleblower Act, breached its contract with him and made “misrepresentations” to him.
The suit claims that a Baylor official used Streetman’s “volume and tone of voice, which he describes as aggressive and threatening” as grounds to fire him.
“He has been made aware that plaintiff suffers from significant hearing loss, and in order to hear myself speak, I must use a louder tone than most,” the suit claims. “Using this as a reason for termination is illegal, according to Title I of the ADA.”
Baylor also violated the ADA, Streetman claims, because it fired him “citing the excuse of a bad attitude, knowing that plaintiff’s health and attitude were compromised by a serious case of cardiovascular disease.”
On Feb. 22, 2017, Streetman was admitted to the hospital with worsening chest pains, which he had been experiencing for three weeks. The next day, he underwent triple bypass heart surgery.
“Plaintiff’s first understandable words as he came out of anesthesia (with difficulty) were, ‘I deserve to keep my job,’” the lawsuit says. “This surgery involved a six-night hospital stay, and after only a few days at home, plaintiff had to be readmitted for a week with an E. coli infection.”
On Feb. 24, 2017, the day after his triple bypass surgery, Streetman was notified of his termination, the suit contends.
Streetman claims Baylor violated the Texas Whistleblower Act after Streetman sent an email “describing an abusive workplace occurrence which had victimized” him.
“Defendant ignored the violation and proceeded to chastise the plaintiff by ignoring the report made by plaintiff against a tenured, full and powerful professor, and by ultimately terminating plaintiff’s employment,” according to the lawsuit.