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Pregnancy suit seeks $5 million for former Chicago teacher

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in Employment Law,HR Management,Human Resources,Maternity Leave Laws

Kathleen Williams, a former teacher at Sauganash Elementary School in Chicago, is suing the city school district and the Chicago Board of Education for $5 million, claiming she was fired for being pregnant. Williams started working at the school in 2002 as a substitute teacher and eventually took a full-time position teaching second grade.

On Feb. 23, 2006, Williams told Principal Christine Munns that she planned to take five weeks of maternity leave in the fall. In April, Munns told Williams her contract would not be renewed. Munns said the district had made the decision in January to terminate Williams.

Williams contends the termination decision was made in March, and claims the district offered several different reasons for terminating her. She says school officials originally told her she was being fired for taking prior medical leave, and that the story later changed to cite performance issues.

To support her case, Williams produced two exemplary reviews—signed by Munns—from spring 2006. She claims Munns neglected to file those reviews, instead submitting a May review that rated Williams deficient in communication.

Note: Judges often cite multiple or changing reasons for a termination as evidence of discrimination or retaliation. When terminating an employee, make sure your reasons are clearly documented and have the employee sign off on them.

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