The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is facing a federal lawsuit due to allegations of racial discrimination.

Katty Eppinger, an employee at the university since 2011, is suing UTC because she “encountered systemic racism within the UTC promotion system,” according to News Channel Nine. 

In the official lawsuit, “Mrs. Eppinger’s complaint contains allegations of systemic discrimination based on race, unequal access to promotional opportunity based on race, equal pay, and performance evaluations.” 

Eppinger claims her race prohibited her from receiving promotion opportunities. 

Despite her good performance reviews and respect from her colleagues, Eppinger has not received the opportunities her non-African American coworkers have. 

The lawsuit states, her compensation was not equivalent to her female non-African American coworkers, even though they all received the same reviews.

In 2018, UTC hired a white woman as Project Coordinator; Mrs. Eppinger claims to have never remembered this job posting on UTC’s website. If this is true, no one but the woman hired had the opportunity to apply.

Before being given the Project Coordinator position, the woman held the same position as Eppinger as Administrative Assistant III. 

In 2020, the same woman was promoted to Business Manager; again, the job was never posted on UTC’s job website. Therefore, Eppinger was denied the opportunity to apply or even see if she was qualified for the position. 

The University claims the position of Business Manager was a “reclassification, with revised position responsibilities specifically established” for the employee who received that position. 

The lawsuit includes seven additional instances of job opportunities that were never posted, and six of the seven were given to white employees. 

Eppinger states to have suffered significant emotional damages during her tenure with UTC. 

Eppinger wants the case to stand trial and receive compensation for her emotional trauma. 

The University does not wish to comment on the trial because it is a pending litigation scenario.

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