United States – 06-07-2019 (PRDistribution.com) — On June 3, 2019, Jean E. Ford filed a lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court alleging that she was subjected to discrimination and harassment by Chancellor Pradeep Khosla because she was a woman over the age of 40, then was retaliated against for complaining about the illegal conduct she and other senior female staff members suffered at the hands of Khosla. According to the lawsuit, Ford is a highly-regarded fundraiser with 25 years’ experience, who led the fundraising efforts for the $2 billion campaign for Columbia University Medical Center before being recruited to lead the Health Sciences Advancement office at the University of California, San Diego (“UCSD”).
The lawsuit alleges that, after leaving a lucrative position and uprooting her family from New York to San Diego based on promises of strong support at UCSD, Ford was instead demeaned, disparaged, sabotaged, and eventually wrongfully terminated. The lawsuit further alleges that Khosla would ridicule her and other senior female staff members’ contributions in meetings, insult or humiliate them, and that he unnecessarily and unreasonably interfered with their work, while her male colleagues were not subjected to this hostile treatment. Ford claims that Chancellor Khosla openly questioned why she was being paid so much, but never questioned the salaries of male administrators. The complaint alleges that Khosla promoted a younger and far less experienced man to supervise Ford. When Ford complained, the decision was rescinded, but Khosla then intensified his retaliation against her. Ford alleges that Khosla also disparaged her to prominent donors and others in the fundraising community, openly questioning her competence and suggesting (falsely) that she had been terminated for serious ethical or criminal violations. “My client has been a successful fundraiser for 25 years. She was recruited to UCSD to transform the Health Sciences Advancement office, and UCSD Health had their most successful fundraising year of almost $150M under Ms. Ford’s leadership. Still, Khosla questioned her decisions, undermined her leadership, sabotaged her work, and viciously disparaged her to others in the small San Diego fundraising community” said Kristina Larsen, Ms. Ford’s attorney. “UCSD is a prestigious, public institution charged with shaping and educating our next generation of leaders. It is also the second largest employer in San Diego. Yet, despite receiving multiple complaints and quietly conducting at least two investigations stemming from reports of discrimination, harassment, bullying, retaliation and/or abuse of power by Khosla, the UC President and Regents have apparently chosen to ignore the plight of female staff employees like my client, in favor of protecting and excusing Chancellor Khosla, who was also sued for gender discrimination when he was a Dean at Carnegie Mellon” said Larsen. “This is why Ms. Ford has bravely chosen to share her story. She hopes that in doing this, others will have the courage to do the same.” The case is Jean E. Ford v. The Regents of the University of California and Pradeep K. Khosla, Case Number 37-2019-00028247-CU-WT-CTL.Please direct any questions to Kristina Larsen at (858) 395-8493 or at [email protected]
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