Ex-CEO Sues Over Ouster

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MONTEREY, Calif. – The former president of tiny Monterey Columbian FCU, now part of Monterey County Employees CU, is suing her former employer, alleging age, disability and gender discrimination led to her firing.

Donna Bindel is suing for at least $600,000 in lost wages and damages for “humiliation, mental anguish and emotional and physical distress,” according to the suit, filed in state court.

Bindel first joined the credit union as a clerk in 1981, was promoted to assistant manager in 1988 and became CEO in 1991. She said her career took a turn downward when her credit union merged with the larger institution in 2008.

The suit alleges unfair treatment toward Bindel began after she raised concerns that credit union rules were being violated. Among Bindel’s complaints was that ineffective notification was given to members that a $4 annual fee would apply to inactive accounts.

Bindel, who suffers from a degenerative back problem, left for three months of back surgery and recovery shortly after the merger. When she returned to work, she says her office was entirely emptied out, and her duties were downgraded to “teller-like” tasks that required up-and-down movements stressful to her back.

Bindel says she was stripped of her authority to approve loans, leaving her Monterey branch as a secondary, processing-type center while management decisions were made in Salinas, creating inequitable sharing of responsibility. She contends that violated the terms of the merger.

A lawyer representing the credit union did not return a phone call seeking comment.


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