Fired Employee Sues Anna Maria College, Claims Harassment, Retaliation

A former employee of a Massachusetts college is suing, saying she was fired for reporting chronic understaffing in the school’s financial aid office and for seeking sick leave.

Sandra Pereira, the former director of financial aid at Anna Maria College, filed a lawsuit on Aug. 27 alleging that the school cut staffing in her department, punished her for contacting human resources and eventually fired her for seeking medical leave because of health problems she developed.

Pereira started working at the college in 2010. In court filings, she said the vice president of admissions and financial aid, John Hamel, reduced the staff in the financial aid office from 4.5 to four when he was hired in 2017.

She warned the school that the added workload meant they might fall out of compliance with federal regulations, and says Hamel resented her speaking with human resources and treated her with disrespect. She says her health worsened as she took on many extra hours of work.

Pereira filed a request in May 2019 to take paid medical leave to treat the medical conditions she had developed and said Anna Maria College fired her two days later.

A representative of the college said it would not comment on a pending legal matter, the Worcester Telegram reported.


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