Ex-UNL employee settles suit for $40K

2009-11-19T16:45:00Z 2010-07-07T16:31:19Z Ex-UNL employee settles suit for $40KBy LORI PILGER / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com
November 19, 2009 4:45 pm  • 

A woman who sued the University of Nebraska saying the school fired her after learning she is a witch has agreed to settle the case for $40,000.

The university made the offer "solely to compromise the claim ... without admitting the validity of plaintiff's contention or any allegations of wrongdoing by the defendants," attorney David Buntain said in an October letter.

The woman is identified only as Jane Doe in the lawsuit.

According to a letter from her attorney, Kathleen Neary, Jane Doe agreed to the settlement, $10,000 of which will go to attorneys fees and costs.

In the letter, Jane Doe said she took a job with the university in 2007 directing a youth program.

But an associate dean terminated her, despite her satisfactory performance at work, after learning she was a witch and her religion was "Reclaiming Tradition of Witchcraft," the woman alleged.

Jane Doe -- believing UNL had violated her right to free speech and expression and exercise of religion -- filed a complaint with the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission.

She said the NEOC found reasonable cause to believe religious discrimination had taken place.

That led to the lawsuit, first filed in Lancaster County District Court and later transferred to U.S. District Court. In it, she sought the reinstatement of her job, lost wages and benefits, and punitive damages.

Senior Judge Warren Urbom entered the judgment in the federal court Wednesday.

Reach Lori Pilger at 473-7237 or lpilger@journalstar.com.

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