California teacher sues over sexual orientation discrimination

Federal and state employment laws prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of certain factors. Under California employee laws, employers cannot discriminate against an employee because of that person’s sexual orientation.

Recently, a California teacher has sued her former employer — Hesperia Unified — after her contract was not renewed by the district. According the teacher, she was discriminated against because she is gay. The woman claims that she was fired after supporting her school’s Gay Straight Alliance club.

Members of the club believed that the school was discriminating against them. The club claimed that the school was denying activity requests and removed the club from the student handbook. Following this alleged pattern of discrimination, the teacher helped the group bring the situation to the attention of the ACLU of Southern California. The ACLU eventually made a public statement against the school. Following the teacher’s activity with the club, but before the ACLU’s statement, the school explained to the teacher that they would not be hiring her for the next school year.

The woman sued, claiming nine counts of discrimination and harassment. The school districted moved to dismiss the case, but a Superior Court judge in San Bernardino County recently ruled that the case could move forward.

In cases like this one, employees are standing up for their rights. Employees should not face retaliation, discrimination or termination because of their sexual orientation. By filing a suit, an employee may receive compensation for the illegal treatment they have suffered. Sometimes it will be possible to settle the dispute with an employer, however, in other situations — like the recent case — a court case is more appropriate.

Source: The Sun, “Hesperia Unified: Former teacher’s discrimination suit gets go-ahead,” Beau Yarbrough, Jan. 22, 2015

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