Lawful Termination or Gender and Age Discrimination?
In Suffolk County, New York a case against the Mattituck–Cutchogue School District has become a major source of suspense for higher ups in the District. The plaintiff, Anthony Claudio, claims the district fired him from his position as a special education teacher because of his age and his gender. While there has been no verdict in the case, the evidence presented on both sides indicates troubling points of contention.
The Points of Contention
- The Work Environment – One of the plaintiff’s major points used to illustrate a culture of gender discrimination was the work environment. At the time of his employment, all but two of his 29 coworkers were women, most younger than he. One witness, a relative of the plaintiff’s, claimed that a defendant stated explicitly that he liked to hire young women.
- Parental Concerns – The turning point in the plaintiff’s career at the District, according to the plaintiff’s former supervisor, was a parent-teacher meeting which allegedly painted a very bad picture of Claudio’s skills interacting with students in the classroom. Many claim that meeting was the beginning of the end.
- Spare Evaluation – During the final year of his employment, apparently the plaintiff had very little on file at all in the way of evaluations. In short, the kind of documentation that normally precedes a termination wasn’t in place.
- A Close Vote – The board voted on whether or not to extend tenure to the plaintiff. Testimony states that discussions surrounding the vote were extremely contentious; the final vote was 4-3. However, the individual who made the final decision to terminate Claudio said the vote was not necessary per state law.
- Personal Issues – One of the plaintiff’s contentions is that a key teacher evaluation took place in the middle of a difficult time: The plaintiff’s wife had just received surgery for ovarian cancer. This personal issue may no doubt have had an affect on Claudio’s perceived issues in the classroom.
- A “Gift Year?” – Many testimonies stated that Claudio’s final year teaching at the district, the year in which there were apparently little to no written issues, was deigned upon the plaintiff as an opportunity to find another job before being terminated.
The key issues surrounding this case must, of course, boil down to discrimination in regards to age and gender, and illustrate some of the many intangibles juries must sift through when deciding a case like this.
If you feel you’re in an employment discrimination situation similar to the one described above, you need the best lawyer available. Call the Law Offices of Valli, Kane & Vagnini today for representation that specializes in Title VII discrimination cases.