Discrimination costs Alamosa schools $240,000 plus — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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Discrimination costs Alamosa schools $240,000 plus

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A Denver jury has awarded a former school administrator $240,000 for discrimination she suffered based on a perceived disability. Discrimination based on a perceived disability violates the ADA.

For 20 years, Candy Wilson worked in the Alamosa School District as a teacher, coach and associate principal. In January 2004, she requested a transfer from her position as associate principal of Alamosa High School to principal of an elementary school. Superintendent Harry Herrera granted her request.

Later that spring, Wilson told Herrera she had changed her mind and wanted to stay in her present job. She said she was suffering anxiety attacks.

Herrera removed Wilson from her associate principal job, saying he feared she was on the brink of a nervous breakdown. As if determined to bring about that result, Herrera reassigned her to do administrative support work from home, prohibited her from entering school grounds on threat of arrest, held a 30-minute discussion of her “fragile mental health” at a staff meeting and said he would tell prospective employers that Wilson had mental health problems.

Wilson’s attorney, John Culver, told the Valley Courier that Wilson “was discriminated against because the district believed she was disabled even though she was not.” He added that the jury “rewarded us with exactly what we asked for. We are thrilled with it.”

But the district isn’t done paying: The jury award of $240,000 covers only emotional distress. A second hearing is scheduled for October to assess front pay, back pay and attorneys’ fees.

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