Saying she was improperly fired for taking pregnancy leave from her post, the former director of the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge is suing the nonprofit for discrimination.
Megan Nordvedt, who served as executive director of the center for four years and worked there for more than a decade, claims in her April 17 lawsuit that center officials shut her out of meetings after she returned from pregnancy leave in the fall of 2011 and then “advanced a false story” to explain why she was let go.
Her suit seeks unspecified damages for emotional and physical distress and loss of income.
The lawsuit also refers to a July 2011 incident in which Nordvedt claims then Community Center board President Tom Reynolds allegedly touched Nordvedt's pregnant belly during a photo shoot and called out, “This is my baby!”
Nordvedt states in the suit that her husband was present at the time and that the incident was offensive and a cause of distress.
Nordvedt was dismissed in March. Around the same time, Reynolds announced he would give up his seat on the board.
Reynolds did not return a phone call seeking comment for this story. Current representatives of the center declined comment or did not return calls regarding the lawsuit.
In March, Reynolds said Nordvedt was replaced after a lengthy evaluation as the center mulls a capital drive to replace or upgrade its Chevy Chase Drive facility.
“The board has decided to make a change in the executive director position to better suit the newly defined goals and long-term strategic direction for the center,” a press release issued by the center stated.
The center runs a preschool, spring and summer camps for children, sponsors charity drives, and hosts classes for everyone from teens to seniors on subjects ranging from drama and skateboarding to bridge and ballroom dancing.
Nordvedt was replaced by Deb Jordan, a 20-year veteran of the nonprofit world who spent six years as the executive director of Asia Society Southern California, which fosters cultural understanding between people in Asia and the United States. Prior to that, Jordan was an executive with the Milken Institute, a Santa Monica-based think tank.
Her work included fundraising and partnering with local and international government institutions on events and activities.
In an email, Jordan said she is looking forward to launching new programs and raising the profile of the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge.
“Being that it's only my 11th day on the job, it's hard to properly define the high-priority projects or changes,” she wrote Monday. “I want to take the time to get acclimated and build on the long history of the center.”
She noted the center will be hosting a bridge tournament during Fiesta Days and is preparing for its spring ceramics sale, which takes place June 8 and 9. For more information on the center, visit www.cclcf.org.