October 21, 2020

College settles for $145,000 in alleged age discrimination case

By Connor Smith
News Editor

The College and Susan Guerrini, a former assistant professor of music education, agreed on Tuesday, Sept. 6, to settle for $145,000 after Guerrini alleged that her May 2011 dismissal was fueled by age discrimination.

According to a report by NJ Civil Settlements, Guerrini, then 62, accused John Laughton, who still resides as dean of the School of Arts and Communication, of overruling a unanimous recommendation to reappoint her due to her age.

Guerrini claimed Laughton described a new hire as “young,” “innovative” and “fresh blood,” and disparaged older employees by stating he expects assistant professors of music education to be “young.” Laughton was not involved in Guerrini’s original hiring in 2008, as he was brought on staff in 2009.

According to Guerrini, Laughton also said she, “had been around the block many times, in fact around the block quite a few times.”

Due to the uncertain nature of settlements, it is unclear how the case would be handled in litigation. Spokesperson Dave Muha told The Signal the College still denies the allegation.

The College of New Jersey denies the allegation, but agreed to the settlement to avoid the cost and uncertainty of further litigation,” Muha said on behalf of the College.

According to the report, Guerrini received $90,022.14, as her attorneys garnered $54,977.86.

Laughton, meanwhile, is set to retire this coming December.

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