Through a negotiated settlement, MPP has secured a significant recovery for one of its clients, Dr. Nicole Esposito, the Campus CEO of Manchester Community College. MPP filed a number of legal claims on behalf of Dr. Esposito, including a federal court lawsuit alleging retaliation in violation of the First Amendment, and sex discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, Title VII, and Title IX, as well as whistleblower retaliation claims with the Connecticut Office of Public Hearings. MPP filed these various legal actions on behalf of Dr. Esposito to challenge the actions by the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system, and a number of state officials, to remove Dr. Esposito from her position as Campus CEO of Manchester Community College. As part of the federal court proceedings, MPP filed a motion for preliminary injunction arguing that the federal court should reverse the termination of Dr. Esposito’s employment and reinstate her to her position because the defendants violated Dr. Esposito’s federal constitutional and statutory rights by conditioning Dr. Esposito’s continued employment on Dr. Esposito waiving her legal rights and then further retaliated against Dr. Esposito when she exercised the very legal rights that the defendants asked her to waive, and because the retaliatory actions against Dr. Esposito had a chilling effect on other employees exercising their rights. That motion remained pending, with a hearing scheduled for the Fall, at the time of the settlement.
As part of the settlement, the defendants agreed to reverse the termination of Dr. Esposito’s employment, reinstate her to her position as Campus CEO of Manchester Community College, and pay $775,000 to Dr. Esposito and her attorneys to resolve claims for Dr. Esposito’s alleged damages and her attorney’s fees and costs. The settlement agreement also includes other protections for Dr. Esposito, including that she will no longer report to her former supervisor who she alleged subjected her to discrimination and retaliation, and that Dr. Esposito must receive 12 months’ notice with pay if Defendants non-continue her employment in the future. The agreement will also allow Dr. Esposito to vest in her pension with the State of Connecticut. In total, the settlement includes payments and benefits worth more than $1 million. Importantly, the settlement agreement also includes provisions that will hopefully benefit other employees of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system, including a requirement that CSCU will provide training to all executive and managerial employees regarding discrimination, retaliation, implicit bias, microaggression, as well as whistleblower and employee free speech rights and protections.
Other media coverage relating to this settlement is available at: