The Scotch Plains-Fanwood school district in Union County has agreed to pay $110,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit filed by a former teacher. The plaintiff in the case was a well-liked third grade teacher at William J. McGinn Elementary School until he was fired in 2014, allegedly because he was gay.
The 29-year-old man’s employment at the school began in August 2011, when he was hired to fill in for another teacher who was out on maternity leave. After completing the school year, he was hired to teach the third grade the following year. During his time at the school, he received glowing performance appraisals and was assured by the principal that his job was secure.
Things took a dramatic turn in January 2014, when the teacher announced his marriage to his same-sex partner. It was then, the man claims, that a group of parents began a coordinated campaign to have him fired. The harassment purportedly started when one parent falsely accused the teacher of keeping her son alone after class “with an innuendo of sexual impropriety,” according to the lawsuit. Following the incident, the same parent allegedly began to spread slurs about the teacher’s sexual orientation and solicited other parents for support in her efforts to have the teacher fired.
Harassment Turns to Wrongful Termination
Overwhelmed by the stress of the attacks, the teacher became ill and was hospitalized in February 2014. Upon return from his medical leave, the school’s principal issued a series of critical reviews that were in stark contrast to his earlier performance appraisals. The district fired the teacher at the end of the 2013-2014 school year. He later filed suit, claiming he was wrongfully terminated because of his sexual orientation in violation of New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD). The district ultimately agreed to pay the teacher $110,000 to resolve the case. As part of the agreement, the school admitted no wrongdoing.
Cherry Hill Employment Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Advocate for Victims of LGBT Employment Discrimination
If you have been wrongfully terminated or suffered harassment in the workplace because of your sexual orientation, gender identity, or other reasons related to your gender, you may have a valid employment discrimination claim. Call McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. today to arrange a confidential consultation with one of our dedicated and highly skilled Cherry Hill employment lawyers. You can reach us in our Marlton offices by calling 856-985-9800 or our Red Bank offices at 732-842-6500 or submit an online contact form.