Pasco school employee alleges discrimination
By Ronnie Blair | Tribune StaffLAND O' LAKES - An assistant principal who is being returned to the teaching ranks filed a sex discrimination complaint against the Pasco County school district in May, more than a month before her demotion.
Published: July 4, 2012
Published: July 4, 2012
Buffey Simon, who worked at Hudson Middle School, claims she was harassed and told her job performance was unsatisfactory after she let it be known she was thinking of having a second child, according to the complaint Simon filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In the complaint filed May 20, Simon said that on Sept. 15 Principal Terry Holback called her into a meeting and "said she heard rumors that I was pregnant."
"She questioned me about the pregnancy and if I would tell her," Simon wrote in her complaint. "I informed her I was not pregnant. She questioned me about the attempts to have another child."
Eight days later, Simon said, Holback gave her a "write-up" because Simon "asked for clarification about a general idea of a schedule to work out with my day care."
On Dec. 5, Beth Brown, the district's executive director for secondary schools, met with Simon and told her that since she had concerns about her work schedule she should consider returning to teaching because it is a more structured position, Simon's complaint states.
On Jan. 26, Brown gave Simon a letter of unsatisfactory performance.
"She told me if my performance does not improve she will recommend that my contract not be renewed," Simon wrote in her complaint. "I believe I am being harassed because I have voiced my desire to have another child."
The school district has filed a response with the EEOC, but the district's labor attorney has advised the district not to release it because it does not become public record until the EEOC makes a ruling, district spokeswoman Summer Romagnoli said.
That ruling isn't expected for a few months, she said.
"I can tell you that Ms. Simon was not meeting minimum performance expectations and that we do not discriminate on anyone on the basis of gender," Romagnoli said in an email. "We have a long history of accommodating employees at all levels during their pregnancies."
Simon is being transferred to a teaching job at River Ridge Middle School.
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