School district settles age discrimination suit, admits no wrongdoing

By John Breslin | Nov 4, 2018

SPRINGFIELD — A Missouri school district settled an age discrimination lawsuit to avoid the expense of further litigation and admits no liability, its chief communications officer said.

Lynn Neff, a former secretary with the Springfield School District, accused it and named individuals of changing job duties in an attempt to force her from her $18.59-an-hour job as secretary, according her complaint.

The trial was due to start in the Greene County Circuit on Monday, Oct. 29, but the parties agreed to a settlement, which was signed off by a judge earlier this month. Under the settlement, Neff received $116,404.

But the school district denies the allegations contained in the complaint, and there is no admission of liability, Hall told the St. Louis Record.

"It was approved to avoid further litigation," Hall said, and provided a statement made by the school district following the announcement of the settlement.

"SPS [Springfield Public Schools] settled a legal matter with Lynn Neff, a former employee who voluntarily retired from the district on August 31," the statement said.

"Ms. Neff claimed age discrimination, which SPS denied. This settlement was not an admission of liability and was approved in order to avoid the burden and expense of further litigation," it said.

The statement added that the monetary payment was paid out by the district’s insurance provider, and that the civil action had been dismissed.

Neff, now 62, claimed in her suit that she was fired at the end of June 2015 alongside another employee, also aged around 60. After filing a complaint, the district superintendent, John Jungman, upheld her dismissal, but the school over-ruled that decision and she kept her job, according to the complaint.

But, Neff alleged, her duties then changed from "important, independent" work to "mundane, repetitive" tasks, the Springfield News Leader reported, citing the complaint. She was, it was claimed, told to count pencils, markers and sticky notes.

The former secretary, who finally retired in August after 16 years working for the district, asked for damages for "pain, suffering, humiliation and deprivation of rights."

Allison Pilley, director of learning support, was named in the suit alongside the district and its superintendent.

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