A former research scientist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is suing the institution, saying it ignored her complaints of harassment by a staff member for nine years. The plaintiff, Fariba Moeinpour, says that a data analyst at the university taunted her for having a “weird ass” name, told her to go “back to Iran,” where she is from, and threatened her with a gun in a campus parking lot. Moeinpour says she reported the analyst to a supervisor, who at first declined to intervene.
Moeinpour was fired in 2020. She says that happened after an argument with the same supervisor over how to deal with the analyst escalated into violence. The supervisor told campus police who responded to the incident that he and Moeinpour had been in a romantic relationship for a year. Police said Moeinpour slapped the supervisor. Moeinpour told NBC News that she was never involved with the supervisor and that she hit him in self-defense. The university declined comment on the case, citing the lawsuit. The alleged harasser, Mary Jo Cagle, declined to speak with NBC.