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Lawsuits & Litigation

Community College Agrees to Settlement, Ending Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

— April 11, 2021

Begen Community College is settling a lawsuit filed by an employee who claimed she was the victim of sexual harassment.

Earlier this month, Begen Community College agreed to settle a lawsuit filed on behalf of an employee who claimed they were the victim of sexual harassment. According to the suit, the employee alleged that Brian Agnew, the former executive vice president of the college, “sexually harassed her and that institution officials failed to properly vet him before he was hired.”

Handshake: image courtesy of geralt via Pixabay,

In addition to Agnew, the school, its board of trustees, and the human resources director were all named as defendants in the gender discrimination suit that was filed back in January 2020 in U.S. District Court.

In the suit, the plaintiff argued Agnew was “a particular danger to women in the workplace” and pointed out that “he had issues at previous places of employment.” Last month, a federal judge dismissed the suit and “terminated all pending motions in the case last month” after the matter was settled and an “order was signed on February 2.” The dollar amount of the settlement is not yet known, but it’s estimated to be around the $145,000 range.

What happened, exactly? What prompted the employee to file the suit. Well, according to the complaint, the “Agnew met with her privately and asked personal questions, including whether her marriage was hard and if he could trust her.” When she informed Agnew that she had been contacted by another institution for a job interview, he allegedly said, “I thought you were going to tell me you are secretly in love with me.”

On top of that, the suit alleged Agnew tried to kiss the employee and “repeatedly asked her to meet with him on her days off outside work and texted her while she was on vacation.” To make matters worse, she claimed she “felt coerced into playing games with Agnew, such as ‘20 questions,’ because she feared losing her job.”

As if that isn’t bad enough, the lawsuit further claimed the employee’s co-workers experienced similar acts of harassment, by the human resources department did nothing to stop it. In fact, over the years five other women have come forward with complaints of sexual harassment when Agnew worked at Georgian Court University in Lakewood.

Soon after the more recent lawsuit was filed, Agnew left the school and currently works as a “diversity and inclusion strategist, executive coach and motivational speaker.

In response to the settlement, Bergen Community College issued the following statement:

“We consistently review our operational protocols and practices in order to continuously improve in support of our students, faculty, staff, and community.”


N.J. college settles employee’s gender discrimination lawsuit against former top official for $145K

Former N.J. college official sexually harassed female coworkers, lawsuit says

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