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August 29, 1996

Lawsuit by fired staffer in fundraising is settled

A former Pitt fundraiser settled her sexual discrimination lawsuit against the University July 17.

Draga Luksic settled for a $5,000 payment from the University, according to Pitt attorney John Greeno. Luksic's lawyers did not return phone requests from the University Times to confirm the amount.

Luksic had been seeking more than $50,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. In her lawsuit, she contended that she was fired on Feb. 14, 1994, for having a romantic relationship with David Raible, her boss's supervisor. Luksic said she suffered discrimination because Pitt terminated her but allowed Raible to keep his job.

Lawrence Weber, former Pitt senior vice chancellor for Institutional Advancement, testified during the trial that he told Luksic and Raible in separate meetings that they would either have to end their relationship or one of them would have to transfer to another department of the University.

Luksic said she was actively seeking employment in another department when Weber fired her.

Luksic's termination letter referred to a Pitt policy forbidding employees from dating their supervisors. But a University spokesperson later said that Pitt has no such policy.

Lawyers for Luksic and Pitt began negotiating on the afternoon of July 17 when it appeared that the eight-member jury was having difficulty reaching a unanimous verdict.

Forty-five minutes later, at 3:15 p.m., the jurors reached a verdict. But by then, the two sides had agreed on a settlement, so the verdict was not read in open court. However, a courtroom source told the University Times that the verdict was in Pitt's favor.

Luksic currently is a fundraiser for Suburban General Hospital in Bellevue.

— Bruce Steele

Filed under: Feature,Volume 29 Issue 1

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