BEVERLY HILLS (CNS) - A former executive for the Milken Institute is suing the Santa Monica-based economic think tank, alleging she was fired in 2022 in retaliation after she had already decided to resign due to her claims of a hostile work environment stemming from her struggles with depression.
Nora Super's Beverly Hills Superior Court lawsuit alleges disability discrimination, retaliation, harassment and violation of the California Family Rights Act. She seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
A Milken Institute representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the suit brought Tuesday.
Super was hired in April 2018 as the director, policy and programs, for Milken's Center for the Future of Aging, then promoted in January 2019 to senior director and finally to executive director in January 2022, the suit states.
Super has been featured in Forbes magazine's "50 Over 50" recognition of successful women over age 50 and has served as the executive director of the White House Conference on Aging, the suit states.
Super disclosed her mental health diagnosis to Milken often, which centers around a major depressive disorder that she opened up about on stage during a Milken Future of Health Summit, the suit states. She also published an essay about her experience with depression in November 2021, according to the suit.
However, Super found out that Milken's actions did not match its purported support of her mental diagnosis and its public support of mental health benefits for all, the suit states.
"Instead, Ms. Super was treated less favorably than her colleagues because of her disability and subjected to a hostile work environment," the suit alleges.
Super was effectively demoted during a reorganization last summer, causing her severe emotional distress, the suit states.
"When Ms. Super expressed dissatisfaction with this unfavorable treatment, she was met with hostility and anger from the company," the suit states.
Super continued to clash with management over various issues, according to the suit.
"As a result of these interactions, Ms. Super felt demoralized and singled out, creating a work environment that quickly became intolerable as Ms. Super struggled to stay afloat in light of her mental health struggles," the suit states.
Super was told she was "insubordinate" during a telephone call with a former peer who had been promoted and that the plaintiff would be fired if she "engaged in any further unprofessional or hurtful behavior," according to the suit.
Super, unable to further tolerate the work environment, offered her resignation last August and agreed to remain for another two months to assist in the transition, but the company instead fired her Sept. 14 while she was on medical leave recovering from skin cancer surgery, the suit states.
"The company unexpectedly terminated (Super) in retaliation for her decision to challenge (Milken's) discriminatory treatment of her by resigning," the suit alleges.