Thursday, September 28, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Thursday, September 28, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Can’t Have ‘a Bunch of Women in Charge’

BATON ROUGE (CN) - A major in the Louisiana State University Police Department says her application for chief of police wasn't even considered because she's not a man and doesn't act like one. And she claims that the less-qualified man who was named interim chief said that all the problems in the department were the result of "what happens when you have a bunch of women in charge."

Martha Haire says that the man who became interim chief until a man could be found to fill the position referred her less-qualified male co-worker as "the major," though Haire was the major.

Haire says she has bachelor's and master's degrees and graduated from the FBI National Academy. The chief of police position required only a college degree.

She says the only qualified applicants were women, so rather than conduct interviews, the department gave Public Safety Director Gary Durham the title of interim police chief until a suitable man could be found.

Haire claims Durham said openly that he didn't want a woman chief, and that he liked a certain woman because she acted more like a man than a woman.

She says Durham hung a poster on an office door, "11 Tips on Getting More Efficiency out of Women Employees," and gave Haire chief of police job postings from other universities as encouragement for her to leave Louisiana State.

Eventually, Durham announced that Lawrence Rabalais, whom Durham had been calling "the major" and who did not have a college degree, would become interim chief until his degree was completed, and that the decision to make him permanent chief would be "contingent on completion of his degree," according to the complaint.

Haire says that when she complained up her chain of command and to LSU Human Resources, she got a "disciplinary coaching letter" from Chancellor Michael Martin, chiding her for not explaining to Durham how to place the name of an LSU administrator on the LSU Police Department Web site.

The letter said that Haire's failure to explain the Web site procedures "have caused me to question your trustworthiness and leadership capabilities ... your future performance will be closely monitored ... further violations ... will result in disciplinary action, including termination of your employment."

After Haire filed a complaint alleging discrimination and retaliation, she was given the lowest performance evaluation she'd received in her 22 years at Louisiana State.

She says the evaluation rated her below satisfactory in "job knowledge and technical skills" for the job she had been doing for years.

Haire seeks damages for retaliation, gender discrimination and whistleblower violations. She is represented in East Baton Rouge Parish Court by Jill Craft of Baton Rouge.

Follow @
Categories / Uncategorized

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.