University says SIS professor who sued for age discrimination was terminated for misconduct

Lawyers for AU and professor agree to protective order

University says SIS professor who sued for age discrimination was terminated for misconduct

Kenneth Clarke was a freshman in the School of International Service, pictured here.

In October 2019, a former School of International Service faculty member filed a lawsuit against American University for age discrimination. Now, the University is denying the allegation, claiming that she was terminated for misconduct. 

Lori Handrahan is one of several women to legally accuse the University of discrimination relating to the tenure process in recent years. She filed a complaint against AU with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in May 2019, according to the suit. 

The University alleges that it did not discriminate against Handrahan on the basis of her age, according to an August legal filing. 

“Defendants state that Handrahan was not qualified for the position. Other candidates were selected for the position because their qualifications more closely matched the needs of the position,” the filing states. “Further, Plaintiff was previously terminated by AU for misconduct.”

Bob Flores, Handrahan’s lawyer, said that the termination claim was inaccurate, and that Handrahan’s contract with the University had ended and was not renewed. 

Flores did not respond to requests for documentation of this allegation.

On Nov. 6, both parties agreed to a protective order. The filing states “that certain documents and information produced during discovery in this litigation should be kept confidential to protect the legitimate business interests and confidential personal information of the parties.”

AU’s lawyers said that they could not comment on pending litigation.

“American University is committed to a safe and inclusive workplace environment,” said Matthew Bennett, AU’s vice president and chief communications officer. “Our policies and procedures, including our Office of Equity and Title IX, provide clear avenues for addressing all forms of discrimination and we investigate all complaints. While we cannot comment on specifics of pending litigation, there have not been any recent developments in this case.”

aveitch@theeagleonline.com

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