- Associated Press - Friday, August 18, 2017

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - A former dean at a Missouri women’s college is suing the school, saying it created “a hostile work environment based on gender.”

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in state court by Carole Chabries, a former dean of graduate and continuing studies at Stephens College.

She said she made a complaint about Vice President of Academic Affairs Leslie Willey, alleging Willey said “a woman might need to step back from her career to take care of her family and that many women have to sacrifice their careers for their families” in response to time Chabries had spent away from campus. Chabries used approved vacation time in October 2016 and then took a few days off a couple months later because of a death in the family.

She said President Dianne Lynch later tried to intimidate her into withdrawing her complaint. Chabries said she then formally reported the discrimination to the Board of Trustees, which chairwoman Vicki Russell said hired an “impartial and expert investigator” to conduct a review of the complaints.

An investigation by the school showed no evidence of discrimination, the Columbia Missourian reported .

Chabries also said Willey responded to her complaints by reassigning her work until she eventually had no official duties or responsibilities.

The lawsuit said Chabries wanted to work at the college because she believed she was entering an empowering environment. But she said she found that Willey and Lynch manipulate employees through “fear and intimidation.”

The Board of Trustees said Thursday that the lawsuit is full of “numerous false and inflammatory allegations.”

Chabries resigned in June, less than a year after joining the college.


Information from: Columbia Missourian, https://www.columbiamissourian.com

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