University Charged with Retaliation for Age Bias Claim

October 7, 2011 ( - A private university violated federal law by retaliating against a college counselor who testified to witnessing age discrimination during an internal investigation, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced in a lawsuit.

According to an EEOC news release, David Branham, who worked as a college counselor at the Fairfield campus of the Chapman University College (now Brandman University), confirmed that he heard his campus director make ageist comments about a co-worker during an investigation into her allegations of discrimination.  After doing so, Branham suffered retaliation by the Vice Chancellor and the campus director to the point where he felt compelled to quit.  

“I never imagined being forced to retire early from a job I loved.  But when I spoke up against ageist remarks made against a co-worker, I became the target of retaliation. Within four months, I was suddenly written up without justification,” said Branham, who was 64 at the time he left his job, in the news release.  “I had worked for Chapman for three years and had never received a write-up before. I am so glad that the EEOC investigated my case.”    

The suit seeks damages for lost wages, training on anti-discrimination laws and other injunctive relief.  

The news release said Chapman University System consists of Chapman University (which employed the Vice Chancellor and campus director) and Brandman University (which employed Branham).  Founded in 1861 and located in Orange, Calif., Chapman University is a private university that caters to traditional full-time students.  Comprised of twenty-six campuses throughout California and Washington, Brandman University is a private, non-profit institution that provides educational opportunities for working adults.