Former COD Foundation employee alleges gender discrimination

Updated 11/25/2015 4:14 PM

A retired College of DuPage Foundation employee has filed a federal lawsuit against the college, a former administrator and a current administrator alleging he was discriminated against for being the only male in his department.

Attorneys for Thomas Simandl, the foundation's former director of development, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Chicago.


College of DuPage and foundation officials declined to comment.

Simandl claims in the suit that former foundation Executive Director Catherine Brod began discriminating against him shortly after she was hired in March 2012, passing him over for promotions and pay increases. The suit states that during an October 2013 conversation with a group of foundation employees, she said she had "a hard time trusting men."

The suit goes on to claim Brod retaliated against him for complaining about her alleged hostile treatment. On Nov. 26, 2013, the suit alleges, Brod put an organizational chart on Simandl's chair that showed him in an unfunded position.

"(Simandl) reasonably understood this to be direct threat to his job," the suit states.

Simandl also alleges in his suit that his health deteriorated and his anxiety "spiked" from working in a hostile environment, causing him to take federally protected time off. Upon his return, he claims he was ridiculed by both Brod and his direct supervisor, Karen Kuhn.

Ultimately, the suit states Simandl's doctors determined his health "would be in serious jeopardy" if he remained in the job.

Simandl filed a discrimination charge against the college with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in April and received his notice of right to sue in September.

He is seeking to be reimbursed for lost wages and benefits, compensatory and punitive damages, his legal fees and costs, and any other amount to be determined by the court.

College spokesman Randall Samborn said he had "no immediate comment" on the suit Wednesday. Calls to Brod and Kuhn were not returned Wednesday.

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