Former Texas Southern University (TSU) women’s basketball coach Surina Dixon has won $730,000 in a sex discrimination and retaliation lawsuit she filed after being fired in 2008, shortly after she was hired.
Dixon sued TSU in March 2010, claiming sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. She also claimed she was threatened with demotion and then fired for complaining that she was underpaid compared to men’s basketball coach Tony Harvey.
Dixon says she was offered a one-year contract that would pay her $75,000 yearly. Based on that offer, Dixon and her husband relocated to Houston from Tennessee. Then she learned that Harvey had a five-year deal worth $150,000 a year.
Around that time, a new athletic director came on board who tried to convince Dixon to accept an assistant coach’s job, working on a one-year contract. When Dixon didn’t agree to those terms, TSU fired her.
On Aug. 12, a federal jury returned a unanimous verdict in Dixon’s favor. It found that TSU violated Dixon’s Title VII and Title IX rights. On her discrimination claims, the jury awarded $133,550 for past lost wages, $51,000 for future lost wages, $37,500 for past emotional pain and suffering and $50,000 for future emotional pain and suffering.
It said her retaliation claims were worth $133,550 for past lost wages, $86,000 for future lost wages, $51,000 for past lost earning capacity, $100,000 for future lost earning capacity, $37,500 for past emotional pain and suffering and $50,000 for future emotional pain and suffering.