Two former administrators at the College of DuPage have settled their wrongful termination lawsuits against the institution. The lengthy legal battle ended in three separate deals, two of which will remain a secret.
The two plaintiffs, Lynn Sapyta and Thomas Glaser, alleged they were wrongfully terminated in 2015 because they campaigned against former Chairwoman Katherin Hamilton’s agenda.
“The key to success in a retaliation claim is proving the connection between adverse employer action and conduct by an employee that is expressly protected by law,” explains law firm Schaefer Halleen, which deals with cases involving illegal workplace conduct.
Lawyers for Sapyta and Glaser said on Thursday that confidential settlements have been finalized with Collins and Hamilton.
A separate agreement with College of DuPage was unanimously approved by the school’s trustees Thursday evening. The school will reportedly pay no money to the plaintiffs.
“The College is pleased that this litigation has ended,” said the school in a statement. “The result is clearly in the best interests of the College.”
The plaintiffs in the case accused Hamilton, who has remained out of the spotlight since the suit was filed, of political retaliation and conspiring with others to oust them from their positions.
The suit disputed accusations by Hamilton that the plaintiffs mismanaged funds, which she says led to fraud and cost the school millions of dollars. The lawsuit described the plaintiffs as reformers who saved the state community college from financial ruin and implemented new safeguards to protect its funds.
Under the settlement’s terms, none of the parties are permitted to disparage each other, nor will they acknowledge any wrongdoing.
Sapyta and Glaser were fired in 2015 after they were accused of violating the school’s investment practices and mismanagement of funds related to the school’s high-end restaurant and radio station.
The suit alleged that Hamilton fired them because they openly campaigned against her slate in their private time. Court documents reveal that Sapyta and Glaser spoke out publicly against Hamilton’s agenda at campaign events, donated money to her opponents and put up yard signs for her opponents.
Hamilton’s slate won the election in spring 2015. While she resigned nine months later, the slate still controls the college board’s majority.
The lawsuit sought relief for lost benefits, back wages, punitive damages and loss of earning capacity. Sapyta and Glaser earned salaries of $1643,828 and $232,112 respectively.
The College of DuPage is still facing a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by former President Robert Breuder.