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Sexual harassment in the workplace affects California teacher

A lesbian teacher in California is suing her former school district, alleging that she was subject to discrimination and lost her job because of her sexual orientation. That woman, age 42, said she suffered from a hostile work environment at the school where she taught, which she attributes entirely to her sexual orientation. She was informed that her teaching contract would not be renewed after a discussion with administrators in February 2013.

Official reports show that the woman had received positive performance reviews during her time at Sultana High School, where she taught English. In fact, administrators said that her performance during her first year had been "great." The woman may have made some enemies within the administration, however, when she began to stand up for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students who were being subject to inappropriate actions and comments at the school. The woman served as an adviser for the school's gay-straight alliance, and she fielded complaints from students who said they were bullied and bothered by teachers and higher-ups at the institution.

The woman, who is still unemployed, says she simply wants her job back. Leaders within the school district say, however, that the woman was appropriately terminated because she had probationary status; the woman was working toward tenure, but she was a probationary employee for her first two years at the school. The woman says that she has suffered unfairly because she was brave enough to blow the whistle on the school's anti-gay culture.

No matter your sexual orientation, it is possible for a hostile work environment to persist because of comments of a sexual nature and other violations. This teacher and her students stood up for their rights, and it appears that she lost her job because of her inflammatory position. Still, as a qualified teacher, she should not have been so easily dismissed. Entities such as this school district must be held accountable for complying with employment law that protects minorities and those in other special categories.

Source: The Bay Area Reporter, "Lesbian teacher fights for her job back" Matthew S. Bajko, May. 01, 2014

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