Friday, July 16–Teacher Alleges Discrimination In Lawsuit

BERLIN – A former
Worcester County teacher this week filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court
against the Board of Education, the superintendent of schools and her principal
and vice principal, seeking compensatory and punitive damages over an alleged
pattern of discrimination and retaliation that ultimately culminated in her
termination last year.

On Monday, through her
attorney Robin Cockey, former Ocean City Elementary School (OCES) teacher
Lindsay Greenan filed suit in U.S. District Court against the Worcester County
Board of Education, Superintendent Dr. Jon Andes, OCES Principal Irene Kordick
and OCES Vice Principal Karen Marx. Throughout the 16-page complaint, Greenan
outlines a pattern of discrimination and retaliation that allegedly began in
2007 for not heeding her principal’s alleged warning not to get pregnant during
her first year at the school.

The formal complaint was
filed after Greenan got a favorable report on a formal complaint filed last
October with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which reviewed
Greenan’s complaint outlining the alleged pattern of discrimination and
retaliation and rendered an opinion that provided the catalyst for the lawsuit.

“Ms Greenan was denied
contract renewal and a tenured teaching position by Worcester after two-year
probationary employment period,” the complaint filed this week reads. “The
adverse employment actions were taken in retaliation for Ms. Greenan failing to
heed Ms. Kordick’s warning that Ms. Greenan not become pregnant during her
first year of teaching at OCES. The pregnancy-related discrimination and
retaliation was exacerbated by the fact that the father of Ms. Greenan’s child
is African-American.”

According to the facts spelled
out in the complaint, Greenan joined OCES in June 2007 after a stint at an
elementary school in Dorchester County. 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
until she told school officials in December of that year she was pregnant.

In 16-page formal
complaint, Greenan’s attorney 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.”

According to the
complaint, before Greenan made known her pregnancy, she had received several
stellar performance reviews. However, after Greenan told her supervisors she
had become pregnant, things started to deteriorate quickly for her at OCES,
according to the complaint.

“After announcing her
pregnancy, Ms. Kordick and Ms. Marx became hyper-vigilant in scrutinizing Ms.
Greenan’s every move and disciplining her whenever they perceived an
infraction, even if they could not substantiate it,” the complaint reads.

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 board, and after a hearing, the board
issued a decision to uphold the non-renewal.

“At the ensuing hearing,
Ms. Kordick and Ms. Marx testified that Ms. Greenan was not adequately
committed to the school, but apart from the testimony of Ms. Kordick and Ms.
Marx, no testimony was offered to show that she was not a competent teacher,”
the complaint reads. “Conversely, a number of parents attended the meeting and
spoke glowingly on Ms. Greenan’s behalf.”