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SANTA ANA : Former Counselor Sues College District

A former career counselor and union representative at Coastline Community College has sued the Coast Community College District, claiming her supervisor harassed her and the district wrongfully fired her.

Helen Evers, who worked for the district from September, 1976, to April, 1992, filed the suit Monday in Superior Court against the college district, her supervisor and four other district officials. Evers, 49, currently on disability from work-related emotional distress, is involved in a separate workers’ compensation claim against the district. She had worked as an athletic equipment manager at Coastline College, and later became a student career counselor.

“I lost my career,” Evers said. “I don’t have it any more.”

College district officials said they were unfamiliar with the suit and declined to comment Wednesday. But Ann Garten, spokeswoman for the district, said, “She is still an employee here.”

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In the civil suit, Evers alleges that Carol Barnes, her supervisor, repeatedly assailed Evers in front of peers and openly criticized her work performance.

Barnes, who is associate dean of counseling at the college, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Evers said the alleged harassment began after she represented a group of 12 faculty members who charged in 1992 that a Coastline Community College dean sexually harassed and physically intimidated his employees. Evers represented the employees through American Federation of Teachers Local 1911.

George P. Melican, the top administrator at Coastline’s satellite campus in Huntington Beach, resigned amid those allegations.

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“It was a condition of the settlement between the district and the faculty members that (Evers) not be retaliated against for her union representation,” the lawsuit states, but named defendants “have done nothing but breach this provision of the settlement.”

The suit names Barnes as well as Ronald Berggren, administrative dean of vocational education at Coastline; William M. Vega, chancellor of the college district; James Garmon, vice president of student services at Coastline; and Armando R. Ruiz, a member of the district’s board of trustees.


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