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Former Manhattan prep school teacher sues for discrimination

A former teacher a prep school on Manhattan’s Upper West Side has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the school. The lawsuit includes a variety of issues, but generally alleges unlawful discrimination based upon gender and sexual orientation.

New York state law and federal protections against workplace discrimination prohibit a variety of types of discriminatory practices. While most workplace discrimination cases may involve allegations of unlawful termination, any adverse employment action based upon reasons associated with sex discrimination are prohibited. The human rights laws apply at the hiring stage and continue throughout the employment process.

In the recent Manhattan allegations, the former gym teacher says that he was given disparate treatment and ultimately fired because he is straight and a family man with children. He says that he was terminated in 2012 because his supervisor did not approve of his traditional family status.

He says that the school claims that he violated policies leading to his termination—that he wrongly sublet a school-provided apartment, and that he left kids unsupervised. But, he claims that those allegations are not true.

In general, a company may create a paper trail before a worker is let go. The courts often have to grapple with disputes over the reasons a worker was fired in workplace discrimination cases. Employment law attorneys speak of a concept known as “pretext” in discrimination cases.

Employers often attempt to show a legitimate reason for firing a worker that is not based upon discriminatory practices when defending a discrimination claim. These reasons may be pretextual, or unworthy of belief. In some instances, these types of pretextual allegations may even deter a terminated worker from pursuing a complaint over discriminatory practices in the first place.

Source: The Palm Beach Post, “Teacher claims he was fired because he's straight,” Dec. 19, 2013

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