A woman who worked at Kansas University for 29 years has filed a federal lawsuit against the university, alleging age discrimination played a role when she was laid off in 2009.
According to the suit filed Tuesday, Cynthia M. Cook is seeking damages in excess of $100,000. Her attorney claims Cook, who was born in 1957 and hired in 1980 as a secretary, was laid off in 2009 and passed over for another KU job that year because of her age. When she left the university, she was an information specialist in the customer service center.
According to KU’s employee newsletter, she was a university support staff employee of the month in August 2008 for her work as part of the computer center’s call desk. Her lawyer argues Cook was more qualified but passed over for another position in favor of one person who was 42 and two who were 29.
The suit names KU and Ola Faucher, KU’s director of human resources and equal opportunity, as defendants. The suit says Faucher informed Cook and six other customer service center employees in 2009 they were being laid off “due to a reorganization caused by budgetary problems.”
“We will reserve further comment for our filings with the court,” KU spokeswoman Jill Jess said. “However, we will vigorously defend this case, and our defense will show these claims have no merit.”