A former longtime office manager for Stanford University is suing the institution, alleging she was wrongfully fired in 2018 in retaliation for taking leave for a disability and because she was over age 40.
Jody Gallegos’ suit also names as a defendant her supervisor, Susan Nunan. Her causes of action include whistleblower retaliation, wrongful termination, hostile work environment harassment and disability discrimination. The suit filed Wednesday seeks unspecified damages.
A university representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the suit, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court because the university does business in Los Angeles County.
Gallegos, 44, was hired in October 2002 as an office manager and administrative coordinator for the student Housing Department and held the position for nearly 16 years, with good performance reviews until the last year-and-a-half of her employment, the suit states.
She provided care to her mother-in-law, who had breast cancer, according to the suit.
In November 2016, Gallegos had rotator cuff surgery, which she disclosed beforehand to Nunan, the suit states. Gallegos went on medical leave that month and returned with work restrictions in January 2017 with the expectations the limitations would be lifted about four months later, the suit states.
“Throughout that whole time, Nunan would repeatedly ask Gallegos, “When are you going to be at full duty again?,” the suit states.
Gallegos was cleared for full duty as scheduled in May 2017, the suit states. But the next month, Nunan began sending Gallegos written statements about being late to work, even though her boss never did the same thing to other tardy workers, the suit states.
If Gallegos was going to be late, she called Nunan to let her know, the suit states.
“Gallegos strongly believed she was being written up because she requested accommodations (for her disability) when she returned from leave,” the suit states.
In February 2018, Nunan removed Gallegos’s task of doing tenant background checks in a university program that helped graduate students lease their dormitory rooms if they left throughout the year for academic reasons, the suit states. Nunan assigned the job to a younger employee who did not have as much experience as Gallegos, according to the suit.
In May 2018, Gallegos submitted a complaint to human resources alleging she was subjected to a hostile work environment because she asked for accommodations when she came back from her leave, the suit states.
In August 2018, she received written notice that management investigated her complaints and concluded she was not subjected to a hostile work environment, according to the suit.
“To her knowledge, there was no investigation conducted and no one was ever questioned in regards to her complaints,” the suit states.
Not long after that, Nunan fired Gallegos, telling the plaintiffs she was “not meeting standards,” the suit states.
Nunan offered no explanation and did not give Gallegos an opportunity to respond or ask any questions, the suit states.
“Gallegos left crying and was humiliated and shocked by what had happened and how her 16-year employment ended because of what she believes was motivated by her complaints to HR,” the suit states.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: