Queens teacher alleges age discrimination; case headed for trial
By Thomas Ricotta on June 9th, 2014 in Workplace Discrimination
We will complete our three-part post on pregnancy discrimination later this week.
In today’s post, we will take note of a breaking news story on age discrimination.
As we will discuss, the case involves a 72-year-old English teacher in Queens. Last week, the oldest judge on the federal bench ruled on the teacher’s age discrimination lawsuit.
The 92-year-old judge, Jack Weinstein, ruled that the suit can proceed.
To be sure, there aren’t very many 92-year-olds who are still in the work force. Federal judges are appointed for life, however, and do not face a mandatory retirement age.
The 72-year-old teacher contends that she was wrongfully given poor performance evaluations in order to force to retire.
Judge Weinstein held a hearing at which there was passionate testimony on both sides. One of the issues was the teacher’s contention that the school district retaliated against her with negative performance evaluations because she had filed a human rights complaint about the school’s administration.
As we noted in our April 17 post, there are important protections in federal law against age discrimination. There are also significant safeguards for public school teachers in New York’s Labor Law 240. We discussed some of those protections in our April 11 post.
It remains to be seen how the 72-year-old teacher’s case will be resolved. School administrators argue that the teacher has been unable to deal adequately with an increasingly diverse student population.
The teacher counters, however, that the real motivation for the written reprimand she was given was quite different. She claims that the administration’s real motivation was age discrimination and an improper attempt to force her into retirement.
A trial is scheduled for this fall.
Source: New York Daily News, “Discrimination lawsuit filed by Queens high school teacher, 72, will proceed: 92-year-old judge,” June 7, 2014