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Former Mount Holyoke Alumnae Association Web designer Jason Johnson of Easthampton files discrimination lawsuit

Last modified: Thursday, December 20, 2012

NORTHAMPTON — A former Web and graphic designer for the Mount Holyoke College Alumnae Association says he was discriminated against and ultimately fired after missing time at work due to cancer treatments.

Jason R. Johnson, of Easthampton, filed the civil suit against the association in Hampshire Superior Court Thursday.

According to the suit, Johnson was hired as a full -time designer and production manager in June 2008 after having worked part time in a similar capacity for about two years.

In July 2011, Johnson was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and took medical leave for surgery.

After recovering from the surgery, Johnson began radiation treatments and worked part time from home during that time, returning to work full time in November 2011 while the cancer was in remission.

Johnson was allegedly informed in January 2012 he had “misused” his sick leave under a policy change enacted by a new supervisor who took over while Johnson was on medical leave.

The suit claims Johnson was laid off on June 14, 2012, in part, because he lacked the needed skills to design the editorial section of the association’s magazine and had no warnings or other disciplinary actions taken against while employed by the association.

According to the suit, Johnson had received positive performance reviews throughout his employment with the association.

Johnson claims in the suit that he would have been able to perform the editorial design work with only a minimal amount of training, already being well-versed in other aspects of the job.

The executive director of the association, Jane E. Zachary, was out of the office Friday and unavailable for comment, according to her administrative assistant.

Johnson, who is represented by attorney Tani E. Saperstein, of Springfield, is seeking unspecified damages, recovery of court costs and fees and reinstatement to his former job, or a comparable position.

Bob Dunn can be reached at


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