Man files civil rights suit against Sylvan Learning Ex-Texas manager says he was denied promotion because he is white

December 12, 1998|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

A former manager for Baltimore-based Sylvan Learning Systems Inc. is suing the company, saying he was denied a promotion because he is white.

John Parkhurst of Arlington, Texas, filed the civil rights suit yesterday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

The suit contends that Sylvan President Douglas L. Becker did not make Parkhurst a vice president in charge of contract sales because most of the education and testing company's customers -- superintendents of large, urban public school systems -- are black.

Sylvan works with dozens of school districts and operates a retail network of 650 Sylvan Learning Centers and 1,300 testing outlets.

Sylvan and Becker denied Park-hurst's allegations yesterday, saying the Texas Human Rights Commission investigated the claims and recently dismissed them as without merit.

"There was absolutely no discrimination in this case," Sylvan attorney Bob Zentz said yesterday.

In October 1992, Parkhurst joined Sylvan in an interim six-month position as district manager of corporate centers in Dallas with the intent of becoming vice president of sales for contract services, the suit said.

He met with Becker a year later and was told he would not be

given the promotion because he is white, according to the suit.

L Becker contends the conversation never occurred, Zentz said.

Parkhurst was subsequently transferred and fired, the suit said. He is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

Neither Parkhurst nor his attorney, Joseph T. Mallon Jr., could be reached to comment yesterday.

Pub Date: 12/12/98

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