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Pennsylvania teacher sues district for racial discrimination

A dedicated elementary school teacher of more than a decade in the Lower Merion School District has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against her employer. The fourth grade teacher says that the discriminatory behavior began about two years ago.

Among the allegations against the school district, the teacher says that she was denied opportunities at her job and was not given access to the same information as her Caucasian coworkers. She also said that she was excluded from meetings and treated differently when parent requests came in. The complaint states that she was reassigned to a different job after she complained about the discrimination to the district.

If true, then these allegations likely constitute a case of racial discrimination and the school district could be held liable. Racial discrimination is a violation of both Pennsylvania law and federal equal protection laws. The school may also be culpable under the teacher's employment contract which is likely governed by a larger union contract with the district.

The district denies the claims and says that her allegations had been previously investigated.

Generally in cases where racial discrimination is proven, the employee who was discriminated against can ask for damages in the form of lost wages and reinstatement to their job or a similar position if the job is no longer available. The teacher in this case is asking for $150,000 in damages to compensate her for the economic losses associated with the discrimination as well as for the emotional harm that she experienced.

Source: Mainline Media News, "Teacher files discrimination lawsuit against Lower Merion School District," Richard Ilgenfritz, July 3, 2012.

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