A former Pima Community College administrator who received a sexual harassment settlement in 2012 has filed a civil rights lawsuit claiming she was ousted in retaliation two years later.
Imelda Cuyugan, one of eight female employees who accused former PCC chancellor Roy Flores of harassment, now is suing current chancellor Lee Lambert.
Cuyugan filed the federal case last year after PCC refused her attorney’s offer to settle out of court for $2.8 million, court records show.
The college denies wrongdoing. Both parties have requested a jury trial, expected to start this fall.
Under the terms of Cuyugan’s 2012 harassment settlement, she received $30,000 and was named assistant vice chancellor for state government relations, a job she said Flores forced her out of after she spurned his sexual advances.
Cuyugan said Flores propositioned her repeatedly on out-of-town business trips between 2007 and 2011. Flores retired in 2012, ostensibly for health reasons, but PCC’s accreditor later found his departure was precipitated by the multiple harassment claims against him.
In 2014, Lambert eliminated Cuyugan’s $137,000 position. Cuyugan claims he did so in retaliation for her having pursued the harassment claim.
PCC, in response, said Cuyugan’s work wasn’t up to par and said the college had “a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for taking the employment action it took.”
PCC spokesman Paul Schwalbach said college officials are confident evidence will show that Cuyugan’s latest allegations “are without merit.”
Cuyugan’s lawyer, Ivelisse Bonilla of Tucson, expressed equal confidence that a jury would find PCC at fault.
Cuyugan’s case marks the second time within a year that the college has faced a federal civil rights suit from a former assistant vice chancellor.
In the first case, Leticia Menchaca, assistant vice chancellor for student development, claimed she was terminated in 2014 because she was of Mexican origin and opposed discrimination.
PCC settled out of court with Menchaca in November. PCC spokeswoman Libby Howell wouldn’t immediately release the financial terms of the deal in response to a recent request from the Arizona Daily Star.
Howell said the college needs to check with Menchaca before disclosing the dollar amount because PCC signed a confidentiality agreement with her as part of the settlement.