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A professor at California’s Santa Clara University School of Law is taking the institution he works at — along with the school’s dean and president — to court for alleged disability discrimination. In a complaint filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court on Friday, Professor Herman Levy alleges that the school failed to accommodate his disability by refusing to let him teach part-time. Additionally, Levy says the school defamed him and retaliated against him by forcing him to teach a class outside his area of expertise and removing him from his traditional post of Master of Ceremonies at the graduation. “I feel debased, demeaned, insulted,” said Levy. “Just let me go on and teach, that’s my goal in life.” The suit comes as most of the university’s professors are returning to campus for the start of the academic year. While some professors acknowledged that they were aware of the dispute, they said that it hasn’t caused much disruption at the school. Levy, who is 73 years old, has taught law at the university for more than 30 years. In 1993, he suffered a staph infection, which limited his stamina. As a result, and on recommendation from his doctor, Levy eventually shifted to a half-time teaching schedule, for which he received half his regular salary. According to the suit, in January the school suddenly insisted that Levy return to a full-time teaching schedule. The dean of the law school, Mack Player, later offered to allow Levy to continue on a part-time basis on condition that he agree to retire in the near future. “He had a right to the reasonable accommodation without any conditions,” said Leslie Levy, the Oakland attorney representing Herman Levy (the two are not related). “They used what they knew he needed to try to pressure or coerce him into retiring.” Player, whose online biography notes that he has penned several books on employment discrimination, said he could not comment for this story. San Jose, Calif., attorney John Ottoboni, who represents the school, was unavailable for comment at press time. While the school ultimately allowed Levy to teach part time, it removed him from the contracts class he had taught his entire career on the grounds that he posed “an unacceptable risk to the students.” The suit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, as well as a motion enjoining the school from limiting which types of classes Levy can teach. “If you can’t rely on the law schools to abide by the black letter law, what about people who aren’t in law schools?” said Leslie Levy. “How do you expect employers for whom law is not their focus to abide by the law?”

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