Whistleblower lawsuit alleges UNC-CH housekeepers traded sex for jobs

Posted March 27, 2015

— A former housekeeping manager has sued the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, alleging that he was fired last year after uncovering a scheme where jobs were traded for sex.

In the federal lawsuit, which was filed Thursday, Clifton Leon Webb is seeking to get his old job back, along with the pay he lost and other damages.

UNC-Chapel Hill officials declined to comment on the pending litigation.

Webb alleges that he blew the whistle repeatedly between 2007 and 2011 about the "illegal employment practices" of his supervisor, director of housekeeping Bill Burston. The lawsuit states that Burston would fire black housekeepers and hire Asian women to fill the jobs in exchange for sexual favors.

UNC-Chapel Hill hired an outside consultant in 2011 to examine problems in the housekeeping department. When the findings were turned over to university administrators, Burston was fired.

Administrators then enlisted Webb to testify against Burston during a grievance hearing to ensure his former boss couldn't win his job back, according to the lawsuit.

After that, however, the new management team put in place to run the housekeeping department systematically took steps to fire him in retaliation for his actions, the lawsuit states. The steps included a demotion, reassignments, unscheduled reviews and the appearance of anonymous letters complaining about his behavior.

Webb was fired in January 2014, and his lawsuit contends the move violated his due process and free speech rights and amounted to unfair discipline.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reviewed his case and issued a notice of right to sue in December.


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  • Edward Levy Mar 28, 2015
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    It would be interesting to hear from the Asians about the sex thingy. Is it a fact that blacks were fired because the Asians were better workers. He Barber, Sharpton, Jackson, how come you were not involved in this? How about the AG of NC and USA?

  • Andi Rueny Mar 28, 2015
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    Can we wait to see the response before we make judgement? Anyone can file suit for anything. It doesn't mean all the allegations are true.

  • Namey Names Mar 28, 2015
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    The whistleblower protection is a joke - especially in NC....they basically will "eliminate your position" and be totally protected against any claim of retaliation if you're a whistleblower. I had a family member who had some of the worse abuse by a department head I've ever heard of. Crooked hiring, saying things a supervisor shouldn't, giving supply contracts to his "buddies" who supported him in his hobbies or by hooking him up with stuff. Few months later my family members position was suddenly eliminated due to a "restructuring"

  • Paul Donovan Mar 27, 2015
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    The Carolina Way!

  • Betsey Duggins Mar 27, 2015
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    God almighty. When will UNC ever learn that they need to get off their pedestal and become transparent? Bless whomever is left at the university with integrity, for people with true character are leaving in droves!

  • Todd Jenkins Mar 27, 2015
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    When are the administrators going to be held responsible.

  • Jack Miller Mar 27, 2015
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    Maybe it's that Asians are harder workers??