BERLIN – A former Ocean City Elementary School (OCES) teacher late last month filed a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), alleging a pattern of discrimination and retaliation for not heeding her principal’s warning not to get pregnant.
On Sept. 30, former OCES teacher Lyndsay Greenan, through her attorney Robin Cockey, filed a formal complaint with the EEOC, alleging discrimination because she became pregnant about halfway through her first year at the school, despite alleged warnings from Principal Irene Kordick and her staff not to do so. In the complaint, Greenan outlines an apparent about-face in how she was treated and evaluated after disclosing she was having a baby, and how that treatment and those evaluations ultimately led to a recommendation not to renew her contract for employment, despite her otherwise stellar teaching record.
“I believe my employer discriminated and retaliated against me because I became pregnant, in defiance of my employer’s warning that I not become pregnant during my first year of teaching,” the complaint reads. “Before I revealed I had become pregnant, I had been observed four times and had received a formal evaluation. All were outstanding. Before I revealed my pregnancy, I had never been reprimanded, written up or disciplined in any way.”
However, the situation changed dramatically after Greenan told her supervisors she was going to have a baby, according to the complaint.
“After I disclosed my pregnancy, I was immediately written up and given my first negative observation. Thereafter, I received a series of unmerited reprimands and unsatisfactory evaluations. I was observed far more frequently than other teachers, and, unlike other teachers, was given no off-the-record observation feedback. All my post-pregnancy observations were negative.”
Greenan asserts in her EEOC complaint the negative observations and evaluations, along with the reprimands and other disciplinary actions were the beginning of a larger effort to have here removed from the school.
“Even though my students passed standardized state testing with flying colors, and even though their parents spoke glowingly of me to the School Board, I was not renewed,” the complaint reads. “I believe my negative observations and evaluations, as well as my reprimands and write-ups, were contrived to lay the groundwork for my non-renewal and ensued directly from my unwelcome disclosure I was pregnant.”
Greenan joined OCES in June 2007 after a stint at an elementary school in Dorchester County. She and her fiancé moved to Worcester County because their daughter was reaching school age and the schools here had such a great reputation. Greenan and her fiancé rented a house from Kordick to allow their daughter to attend OCES. She started teaching at the beginning of the 2007 school year and everything was reportedly going well with glowing evaluations from her supervisors and the parents of the children she taught, and the test scores of her students, allegedly until she told school officials in December of that year she was pregnant.
In her five-page appendix to the formal complaint, Greenan outlines an alleged pattern of mistreatment, scrutiny and observation apart from the normal routine afforded other teachers in the school. In the complaint, Greenan alleges her “persecution seemed designed to humiliate and depersonalize me.” In addition, the complaint alleges racial overtones to the pattern of discrimination because Greenan’s fiancé was African-American and the five-page appendix to the complaint includes a handful of incidents that allege that.
In April 2009, Greenan allegedly received a letter from Worcester County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jon Andes informing her Kordick had recommended her contract not be renewed. Andes allegedly told Greenan at the time he decided to accept the recommendation and that her contract would expire at the end of the 2008-2009 school year. Greenan appealed to the School Board, and after a hearing, the board issued a decision to uphold the non-renewal of her contract.
“I taught at Ocean City Elementary with 100-percent of my students passing,” the complaint reads. “My class also earned 100-percent proficient an advance scores on our countywide math and reading test. During both years, I was nominated by both students and parents for teach of the year. Nonetheless, the board issued a decision finding I was not a good fit at the school and upheld the non-renewal of my contract.”
Greenan’s EEOC complaint is a first step in the former teacher’s effort to gain reinstatement, back pay and compensation for her alleged emotional suffering and harm to her reputation. The EEOC will attempt to resolve the matter within the next three months, but if the agency is unsuccessful in achieving a resolution, the groundwork will have been laid for a potential civil lawsuit. The EEOC complaint names the Worcester County Board of Education as the subject of the discrimination complaint. Andes could not be reached for comment.