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California school district boss allowed to retire despite charges

Facing $17 million in legal claims and 12 complaints with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the San Juan Unified School District, which is located in the Sacramento area, has allowed its superintendent to retire. The decision to let him leave his post effective in January instead of firing him has been met with some understandable negative reaction.

Twelve women filed complaints against the superintendent for various types of discrimination and harassment. Six of the women’s complaints were verified by an independent investigator. He was found to have at least some guilt in 18 separate charges of discrimination. These included four incidents of “interference and retaliation,” three of “marital status discrimination,” one incident of “gender discrimination,” and three involving discrimination regarding “family care/medical leave/disability discrimination.”

One of those speaking out publicly about the district’s decision to allow the superintendent to resign the post, which he has been on paid leave of absence since May, is a retired principal. She contends that the decision was based on economic considerations as opposed to “what’s morally and ethically correct.”

Money was admittedly a consideration for the district at a time when the state’s (and country’s) schools are hardly flush with funds. A spokesperson said that if they had terminated the superintendent, the process would have included a review that would have taken at least two months. During that time, he would have continued to receive a paycheck.

While the complainants in this case may not all be satisfied with the outcome, at least someone in a position of authority who was found to have engaged in multiple acts of discrimination against women will be out of a job next month. He will not likely have further opportunity to be in a position where he can treat employees as he allegedly did. This is just one example of why employees who experience discrimination owe it not just to themselves, but to their colleagues and to those who may follow them in the future, to take action against a manager or employer who does not respect their rights in the workplace.

Source: Capital Public Radio, “San Juan Superintendent Steps Down Amid Discrimination Charges” Bob Moffitt, Dec. 19, 2013

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