Dan Snierson
March 27, 2011 AT 08:51 PM EDT

An attorney representing eight workers from Madonna’s charity Raising Malawi says his clients are suing the singer for unfair dismissal and non-payment of benefits, reports Reuters. Board members were let go last week and replaced with an interim board that includes Madonna, after mismanagement of funds halted plans to construct a girls school near the African country’s capital, Lilongwe, according to the New York Times. “Their employment was terminated by the trustees of Raising Malawi Academy for Girls ostensibly following the change of plan not to build the school as planned,” noted the workers’ lawyer, Mazondi Chirambo, who said that Madonna had 14 days to respond to the workers’ concerns. “My clients are also being forced to sign a discriminatory termination agreement before they are paid their benefits.”

The organization’s executive director, Philippe Van Den Bossche, resigned his post in October after auditors complained of excessive spending on the project — to the tune of $3.8 million — with few results. Madonna has lent $11 million to the charity, which has raised $18 million to date. Madonna’s reps did not immediately respond to EW’s requests for comment.

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