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Athletic Director Sues ASU for Failure to Respond to Sexual Harassment Claims and Retaliation

On Behalf of | Aug 3, 2021 | Sexual Harassment

On July 7, 2021, Senior Associate Athletic Director David Cohen filed a civil suit against Arizona State University for allegedly failing to investigate reports of sexual harassment and wrongfully terminating him in retaliation of his reporting.

The claimed causes of action would include violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Arizona Civil Rights Act for the University’s alleged failure to address multiple reports of sexual harassment by Bart Wear, an ASU athletics booster.

Allegations Against Wear

The complaint alleges that ASU was aware of Wear’s pattern and practice of sexually harassing women at ASU athletic functions, but chose to protect the athletic booster rather than investigating the matter.

The sexual harassment allegations include unwanted touching and grabbing, inappropriate sexual comments, and sexual advances by Wear towards numerous women at ASU Athletic functions. One of the women, who stated that she was sexual harassed by Wear, was Cohen’s wife, Kathy Cohen.

Reports and Termination

In March 2019, Cohen stated that he reported the incidents to the University Athletics Vice President, Raymond Anderson, who did not address the complaints. Throughout 2019, Cohen stated that he repeatedly insisted that the department investigate the matter. Multiple ASU officials were allegedly informed of the allegations but did not initiate an investigation until August 2019. Cohen was terminated in December 2019, five months after his initial report.

Cohen acted as the ASU Athletic Director from 2014-2019. According to the complaint, Cohen received positive performance reviews up until he reported the incidents in 2019. After reporting the incidents, Cohen stated that he was demoted and ultimately terminated for not being a “team player” and “not a cultural fit” for ASU Athletics. Cohen’s complaint alleges that his termination was retaliation for reporting the sexual harassment, and ASU failed to properly investigate the sexual harassment allegations.

Experienced Sexual Harassment and Employment Attorney in California

Makarem & Associates is an established and experienced law firm with a track record of successful sexual harassment and employment discrimination cases. If you believe you may be a victim of sexual harassment and/or employment discrimination, contact us today. Get in touch with Makarem & Associates via email at [email protected] or phone at 310.312.0299 to protect your rights.