Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By David Ganezer

Art Institute Sued For Sexual Harassment


Theodore Greenberg has filed a lawsuit against the Art Institute of Los Angeles, which is located in Santa Monica. Greenberg alleges that he was sexually harrassed by Mark Lowentrout, a supervisor at the school. The complaint also names the school's parent company, Education Management Corporation.

In his complaint, Greenberg alleges that on December of 2011 he was employed as a teacher at the Art Institute. Lowentrout was a supervisor. Greenberg was originally hired by the Art Institute in December 1991.

Greenberg, a musician by career, has received two Grammys. Lowentrout claims to have produced over 383 television commercials, films, television shows, and industrials.

Greenberg alleges that beginning in December 2010, Lowentrout made sexual remarks and made advances to both on campus in private, including incidents at a concert in front of the Hayworth Theatre in Los Angeles, and in front of a witness, John Wolfe, Greenberg alleges that Lowentrout grabbed his rear end very hard and whispered "mmmm" in his ear

Approximately two months later, on or about February 2011, Greenberg says that Lowentrout made a graphic, obscene comment, which is specified in the lawsuit. He claims that Lowentrout made many inappropriate remarks to him when he played for Lowentrout's band outside the workplace.

In addition to creating a hostile environment through repeated advances at the workplace, Greenberg says, Lowentrout created a hostile environment by telling students in the spring of 2012 that Greenberg had a pornographic name and must have been involved in pornography. When Lowentrout heard Greenberg tell his class his pen name/pseudonym, Lowentrout told the class that said name was also his pornographic name, Greenberg says.

The complaint alleges that Lowentrout directed an Art Institute student, David Yuvienco, to take a photo of a dog with Lowentrout carefully holding Plaintiff's name tag below the dog and told the student to post it on the official Art Institute audio council web page.

Greenberg says that Lowentrout created a hostile environment by using the end of quarter debriefing meetings to scold and browbeat Greenberg over his negative perception of successful official school playback concerts, while never discussing the alleged reason for the meeting.

He also says that Lowentrout created retaliatory schedule changes making it more difficult for Greenberg to attend graduate school by changing the latter's schedule from 2 days a week to 4 days a week, and scheduling a 6-hour break on Tuesdays.

The complaint states that in the fall of 2012, Greenberg informed Wendy Baker, the Employee and Labor Relations Manager, of the sexual harassment and the hostile work environment created by Lowentrout, but the Employee and Labor Relations Department of the Art Institute took no action. Greenberg says after he complained, the situation even got worse.

On January 3, 2013, Greenberg filed a discrimination complaint with the Department of Fair Employment & Housing, which issued a Right to Sue letter the same day. The complaint is now pending in Los Angeles Superior Court, Santa Monica.

"This is an egregious case both from the standpoint of my client's allegations against Mr. Lowentrout and the lack of any meaningful investigation by the school," said Greenberg's attorney, Scott Schutzman.

The Observer contacted Defendant's Counsel Erin Leach, who would not comment on this story. EDMC spokesman Chris Hardman called the Observer, and said it was not their policy to comment on pending litigation.


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