CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A former prominent leader and employee at Central Piedmont Community College is suing the college.
In a lawsuit filed Thursday, she claims the school is targeting senior, female leaders for termination and that the current president has taken a “wrecking ball” to the school’s previous success.
Dr. Maha Gingrich has been a student, then an employee at Central Piedmont Community College for decades. She’s racked up numerous awards and recognition for her work, so when she was called in for an evaluation in 2018 she thought it would be routine.
“When I walked in I was shocked already to see the scene that I was basically being let go,” Dr. Gingrich said.
Gingrich's position as Assistant Vice President and International Community Liaison was eliminated. Her lawsuit claims that it wasn't for budgetary reasons.
Instead, Gingrich says that she’s aware of at least 29 employees over the age of 40 who have been terminated since current President Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer took over the school, and at least 13 women who were fired and seven forced to retire.
The lawsuit alleges Dr. Deitemeyer took a "wrecking ball" to the school's success and a disproportionate number of people who were fired or terminated were women over 40.
“They picked women who were intellectually capable, had a lot of passion for the college, had contributed to the success of the college,” Dr. Gingrich said. “Those women were systematically picked and discriminated and forced to leave or they eliminated the positions.”
CPCC Vice President of Communications Jeff Lowrance wrote to WBTV “The college categorically refutes the allegations contained in the complaint and will defend itself vigorously in court.”
Attorney Josh Van Kampen is representing Dr. Gingrich.
He’s already filed another discrimination lawsuit against CPCC.
“When you look at somebody like Dr. Gingrich and her credentials, you scratch your head and wonder on what objective criteria could she possibly have been selected,” Van Kampen said.
The lawsuit is seeking punitive damages because of the alleged discriminatory termination. Dr. Gingrich says she is hopeful other employees will come forward with their stories.
“The community has a right to know what’s going on at the college,” Gingrich said. “The community has a right to know of the systematic discrimination that’s happening for women especially.”