With claims of a hostile work environment and discrimination, a math teacher at Cliffside High School in Bergen County, New Jersey is suing the school district for not responding adequately to her complaints or taking action against the intimidation and verbal abuse she claimed to have suffered at the hands of her supervisor, resulting in anxiety and other medical ailments. She also alleged that district managers have ignored her complaints and attempted to force her to retire.
By law, a hostile work environment is created by any ongoing behavior, actions, or communications by a boss or co-worker severe enough to interfere with the victim’s ability to do their job or with the intention to derail or impede their career advancement. A hostile work environment also involves an element of discrimination against an individual for their age, race, religion, disability, or other protected classification. Such hostile conditions often progress to include retaliation for reporting instances of harassment or intimidation.
In her role at the high school, the victims taught pre-Algebra to those who spoke English as a second language. Court documents revealed that her trouble started when a new supervisor arrived at the school in 2015. Despite years of positive performance reviews, the teacher said the new supervisor claimed to be unable to write anything positive about her or her teaching practices. The teacher relayed stories of the supervisor berating her in front of students and attempting to intimidate her by getting within inches of her face to speak in a taunting way.
The lawsuit also implicated that the principal yelled at her regarding late paperwork and for not following his order to settle matters with her supervisor. The teacher was also allegedly called into question for her overuse of time off for health issues, even though she stayed within the allowance for sick days.
The teacher attempted to enlist the help of district managers and the Superintendent, including through a letter from her attorney in June 2018, but her complaints went nowhere. In fact, she contends that district officials began insisting that she retire by threatening tenure charges. However, the teacher filed suit this summer in Bergen County Superior Court, alleging that the hostility she experienced at the school caused her anxiety, as well as sleep issues, heart palpitations, and an inflammatory eye condition.
The stress created by harassment is bad enough, but when your reports of a hostile work environment are ignored or your requests for support from your employer are denied, it can feel like you have nowhere to turn. The Long Branch employment lawyers at Fox & Melofchik, L.L.C. are here to help. Let our experience be your support. Contact us online or call us at 732-493-9400 to set up a free consultation to discuss your case.
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