Former Professors Seek Justice in Discrimination Lawsuit Against Augustana University

Sioux Falls, South Dakota – Both parties involved in a discrimination lawsuit against Augustana University are pushing for a jury trial. Former professors Lisa Grevlos and Paul Nesheim claim that their termination was retaliation for engaging in protected activity, discriminatory based on age and sex, and a violation of the university’s faculty handbook. They seek compensation for the loss of their positions, damage to their reputations, emotional distress, and violations of their civil rights.

Grevlos and Nesheim assert several causes of action in their amended complaint. Grevlos claims retaliation after filing a Title IX complaint, resulting in the loss of her positions, a pay reduction, and removal from the Angelus Choir. Furthermore, she was terminated just four days after notifying the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) of her intent to sue. Nesheim was suspended and eventually terminated after openly opposing Grevlos’ removal and making complaints about his treatment.

Grevlos also alleges sex discrimination, stating that she was the only female tenured faculty member in the School of Music and faced discrediting of her abilities and competence. She was excluded from discussions and subjected to biased treatment based on her gender. Additionally, both Grevlos and Nesheim claim age discrimination. Grevlos, aged 58, had her positions and responsibilities stripped and faced a reduced teaching load. Nesheim, aged 62, was removed from conducting the AU choir and replaced in prestigious positions by younger faculty.

In addition to discrimination claims, both professors accuse AU of breaching their employment contracts. Grevlos argues that AU failed to follow the proper dismissal process and provide a reasonable opportunity to address any issues. Nesheim claims that AU suspended him without demonstrating a credible threat and failed to provide adequate reasoning for his termination.

The plaintiffs assert that they suffered monetary damages, including lost compensation and benefits, harm to their professional reputation, emotional distress, degradation of character, and violations of their civil rights.

Augustana University has filed an answer denying almost all of Grevlos’ and Nesheim’s claims. The university argues that their conduct and termination were motivated by non-discriminatory and non-retaliatory reasons. AU also contends that it made good faith efforts to prevent discrimination and harassment.

There are no further details yet regarding the court proceedings or the scheduling of a jury trial.