A 67-year-old former Beverly Hills senior recreation supervisor who once assisted with management of the city-owned Greystone Mansion & Gardens can move forward with all the claims in her lawsuit alleging she was denied promotions because of her age and forced to quit because of ongoing hostility from a supervisor, a judge ruled Monday.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gregory Keosian denied a motion by attorneys for the city of Beverly Hills to dismiss about half of the claims in Cynthia Brynan’s complaint, including those alleging disability discrimination and harassment.
Brynan’s lawsuit was filed April 8 and also names Nancy Hunt-Coffey, the city’s director of recreation and parks, as a defendant.
Brynan was hired in 1979 as the recreation supervisor and elevated in 2001 to a post in which she assisted in the management of the Greystone Mansion, where many high-profile events are held annually, including Concours d’Elegance, which features an exhibition of rare cars, the suit states.
She also obtained many high-profile sponsors for the Concours event, including Tesla, Chubb Insurance and Ferrari North America, according to her court papers, which say she was promoted to senior recreation supervisor in 2010.
In December 2016, a series of departures within the DRP resulted in Hunt-Coffey being promoted to director and an opening for the position of manager, according to her suit. Brynan, who informally filled the manager role from January 2017 to May of that year, says she told Hunt-Coffey that she was interested in the permanent position. Hunt-Coffey’s reaction was dismissive, but Brynan applied for the manager position anyway, her suit says.
Meanwhile, the Concours event in 2017 “was a huge success” and she received $2,500 for her after-hours work as she had in previous years, according to her court papers. In June of that year, Brynan went on medical leave for a knee replacement and was not allowed an accommodation to have her interview for the manager job delayed, forcing her to go forward with it on Skype, the suit states.
“(Brynan) did her best, but was clearly disadvantaged by not appearing in person and (appearing) under the influence of medication,” according to the complaint.
The job was later given to a woman about 35 years old who had worked as a lifeguard in Laguna Hills and had little experience with management ofg such venues as the Greystone Mansion, the suit states.
Brynan says she complained to Hunt-Coffey in November 2017 that she believed her age was a factor in her not getting the DRP manager position, but the defendant did not take the plaintiff’s comments well and gave her “no meaningful response,” according to the suit.
In 2018, Hunt-Coffey denied Brynan the $2,500 special assignment pay for the Concours event she had received annually in 2010-17, prompting the plaintiff to take the issue to her union representative, the suit states. Hunt-Coffey later canceled the 2018 Concours event in retaliation for Brynan’s complaints, the suit alleges.
Brynan says she was stripped of many of her duties and shunned. In February 2018, her spouse received a call from someone involved in the 2017 DRP manager hiring process who said those involved in the selection “were instructed to select young blood and (Brynan) had no chance for the job,” the suit alleges.
Brynan was reassigned in June 2018 from Greystone Mansion to La Cienega Park, where her job duties became “more menial and insignificant,” according to her court papers, which say she continued to be passed over for manager positions in favor of younger candidates and did her best to “soldier on and succeed in her job,” but the ongoing “hostility and humiliation” led her to take medical leave and she was forced to quit in February of this year.
Brynan’s lawyer, Sark Ohanian, said after the hearing that she had hoped to work for the city until she was about 70 years old.