A former teacher for the Newport-Mesa Unified school district is suing for harassment after she was terminated, alleging she was fired solely because of her age. Debbra Demarco filed a lawsuit against the school district on September 4, claiming she was wrongfully terminated and harassed by false allegations of drinking on the job. Demarco claims that 11 years after being hired to teach third through fifth grade at Killybrooke Elementary School in Costa Mesa, a new principle was hired and a string of harassment incidents began. The suit claims Demarco was fired solely because she was older and that replacing her with a younger teacher would cost less in terms of salary and benefits.
The lawsuit also claims Demarco was harassed by the new principle for drinking on the job in October 2011, which Demarco denies. Because of this and another subsequent incident, Demarco was placed on paid leave. Demarco also alleges that she was observed and criticized while teaching her classes during the 2012-13 school year and was eventually “demoted” to teaching kindergarten.
Demarco was then forced to terminate her employment at 43 years old after taking a leave of absence for health-related reasons, according to the lawsuit. Demarco then filed an administrative complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and received a “right to sue” letter.
Harassment based upon an illegal factor, such as age discrimination, sexual or racial harassment, is illegal in California. An experienced employment attorney can help you determine if the harassment you experience at work is grounds to sue. Employees over the age of 40 are protected by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Employers cannot discriminate based upon age when it comes to hiring, firing, promotions, layoffs, compensation, benefits, job assignments and training.
If you think you are being harassed in the workplace, our experienced California employment lawyers can help you. Contact our Los Angeles harassment attorneys today at (310) 273-3180 for a free consultation.
Did You Know: The ADEA does not apply to employers with less than 20 employees.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob– Los Angeles employment attorneys