Former Researcher Sues Harvard Lab, Alleging Racial Discrimination

A former researcher at a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health lab is suing the school and the lab in federal court for racial discrimination.

Amber Rucker, a Black woman, worked at Harvard-affiliated Adriadne Labs from 2017 through 2019.

According to the suit, Rucker claims the lab director "fostered an environment of institutionalized racism" that "led to microaggressions by Caucasian employees towards Black employees" and interfered with her ability to do her job.

Rucker also alleges the lab discriminated against her when it came to job promotions and pay. The suit states that Rucker should have had a higher ranked job title even when she was hired. She was eventually reclassified after two years, according to the suit, while white colleagues were reclassified or promoted "within a year or less" — even though most of them started their positions after Rucker had.

Rucker is bringing the suit under violations of Massachusetts state laws as well as a violation of the federal Civil Rights Act.

Harvard said it does not comment on pending litigation, and pointed to its existing discrimination policy.

This article was originally published on September 30, 2020.

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