Judge Refuses to Gut Racial Bias Suit

A federal judge denied the Plumas Unified School District’s motion to dismiss six of 10 claims made in a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by Jerald Clinton (J.C.) Eaglesmith, the Sacramento Bee reported on November 15, 2011. Judge John A. Mendez with the U.S. District Court’s Eastern District of California allowed Eaglesmith and other plaintiffs to amend two claims but permanently dismissed two of the claims without an opportunity to amend them. According to the Bee, the case remains scheduled for a federal jury trial in October 2012.

Eaglesmith, a teacher at Plumas County Community School and former Quincy High School basketball coach, says he was singled out for harassment and retaliation after he and his wife gave a presentation at Quincy High School discussing the American Indian perspective on Thanksgiving in 2006. The lawsuit states that after the presentation, the defendants interfered with his coaching, ostracized him, questioned his spiritual beliefs, referred to him in derogatory terms and refused to rehire him as basketball coach for the 2010-2011 year. Eaglesmith listed a truck “adorned with a noose and racist bumper stickers” that the district allowed an employee to park next to his classroom among the incidents of harassment, according to the Bee.

Quincy High School Principal Sue Segura, Vice Principal Jeff Ray and the trustees of the Plumas school district and county office of education are named as defendants in the employment discrimination lawsuit. Other plaintiffs in addition to Eaglesmith include his wife, Ramona, as well as Eileen Cox and Bruce Barnes, both non-minority school employees who supported Eaglesmith.

Have you ever had to ask co-workers to support your claims to prove discrimination? Were your fellow employees cooperative? Tell us about your experience.

Law Offices of Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob – Los Angeles employment lawyers