Massachusetts Disability Discrimination Lawsuit Alleges Unfair Treatment by School District

A Somerset elementary school teacher’s aide has filed an employment discrimination lawsuit in Massachusetts Superior Court alleging discrimination and retaliation.

Boston employment discrimination attorneys are often called upon to represent employees, both in the public and private sector. Given today’s tough economic climate, public sector employees face particular hardship when a lost job leads to lost seniority, lost retirement benefits, lost healthcare and lost security. A Massachusetts employment lawsuit can help restore those rights. 1211448_wheelchair.jpg

The Herald News reports the Wilbur Elementary School teacher is seeking $130,000, include $100,000 in damages for discrimination and retaliation. She claims she was subjected to unfair treatment upon returning from a medical leave and that she was retaliated against after filing a complaint with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, which claimed the school district didn’t have proper student restraint policies in place.

State and federal employment laws protect workers from discrimination based on age, sex, physical disability and other grounds. There are also protective statutes in place that deal with medical leave and short-term and long-term disability rights. Probably the best known is the Family and Medical Leave Act, which provides up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period for birth or adoption of a child, a family member’s serious health issues or circumstances arising from military duty.

The Americans with Disabilities Act protects workers who:
-Have a physical or mental impairment that is substantially limiting.
-Have a record of such impairment or is regarded to have such an impairment. The law also prohibits employers from asking job applicants about the existence of such a disability and sets confidentiality standards and limitations on employers.

Additionally, the law protects workers from retaliation for filing a claim or for exposing dangerous or illegal employment practices.

In this case, the employee claims unfair treatment caused her to take two subsequent medical leaves. She alleges the district is guilty of disability discrimination, retaliation and a violation of the state’s whistleblower protection act. She claims she had excellent employment evaluations until after returning from medical leave in 2010 following a serious injury.

The lawsuit alleges she was berated in front of students, staff and parents and that the district tried to set her up for an ethics violation; she was offered a $200 gift card from a parent-teacher group working on the yearbook.

She is currently on leave from the district. Following her complaint to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education regarding restraint procedures, the district was ordered to have staff undergo new training.

If you need to speak to an employment attorney in Belmont, Boston or elsewhere in Massachusetts, contact The Brown Law Firm, LLC, for a free and confidential consultation. Call 617-489-0817 or contact us through this website.

Additional Resources:
Wilbur Teacher’s Aide Files Lawsuit Against Somerset Schools, By Grant Weker, Herald News.

Boston Bar Assosiation