UCSD chancellor, former fundraising exec reach settlement in gender and age discrimination suit

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A settlement has been reached in a gender and age discrimination lawsuit brought against UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla and the University of California Board of Regents by a former fundraising executive who alleged she was wrongfully fired and mistreated by Khosla throughout her time at the school, it was announced Wednesday.

UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla. (UC San Diego photo)

Former UCSD Associate Vice Chancellor Jean E. Ford alleged that despite raising millions of dollars for the health sciences program, Khosla was abusive toward her and other female employees, interfered with her work, and retaliated against her when she brought up her concerns.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

According to a statement agreed upon by the parties, Ford, the UC Regents and Khosla “have amicably resolved all claims between the parties, with none of the three admitting any wrongdoing. As UCSD faces unprecedented operational challenges as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and mandated court closures further compound litigation delays, each party agreed that an expedient resolution would be in the best interest of all involved during these extraordinary times.”

The lawsuit filed last year in San Diego Superior Court alleged that less than a year after she started working at UCSD, Khosla assigned a younger, less qualified male supervisor to oversee her work. She alleged that supervisor had little direct fundraising experience, while she possessed more than two decades of experience in the field.

In addition, Ford alleged that Khosla treated female employees — particularly those over the age of 40 — much more harshly than their male counterparts. Five women besides Ford — each over the age of 40 — were either fired or forced out of their positions by Khosla, according to her lawsuit.

Ford alleged that after she spoke to Khosla directly about her concerns, he sabotaged her fundraising efforts and made disparaging remarks about her to her co-workers, subordinates and donors, hurting her reputation at UCSD, as well as after she was fired in August 2018 and trying to secure work elsewhere.

Ford said she was told she was fired for sharing her computer password with her assistant and allowing the assistant to take an online course for her. Ford alleged in her suit that password sharing was a common practice at UCSD and that the assistant took the course without her knowledge.

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