Jim Garrity has resolved another discrimination lawsuit against a Florida school, Bay Haven Charter Academy, that has faced a number of similar claims in the past. This time, Garrity sued on behalf of an award-winning high school principal there, who alleged that the head of the school improperly touched her, made inappropriate comments, and then retaliated against her for coming forward with the complaint. Garrity was able to resolve this case for $250,000.00. Our client remained employed while the case worked its way through the system, and voluntarily resigned once the settlement was finalized. At that point, she felt her voice had been loudly heard, and that she could move on to other interests.
This follows other cases filed by our firm against the same school, one of which resulted in a $400,000 settlement for another principal who alleged discrimination and retaliation, and another that led to a $150,000 settlement for an assistant principal on similar grounds. We have filed at least two other cases against the school, one of which settled and one of which is still pending.
In this case, our client was an award-winning educator who has been licensed for 25 years. She was rated “Highly Effective,” the top rating, in her evaluations at the school for years 2014-2015, 2015-2016, 2016-2017 and 2017-2018. In her last year at the area’s public school system, before coming to Bay Haven, she was named Assistant Principal of the Year. She was twice the School Administrators Association’s President, and the Vice President before that. In Texas, before coming to Florida, our client was a two-time Golden Apple award winner for educational excellent, and was one of 24 partner teams General Electric (GE) Grant winners in a nationwide selection. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in educational leadership.
In other words, she was a bona fide rock star in the world of education.
The Complaint, which is the document in a lawsuit that alleges the grounds for the case, alleged that the school head slapped her on the buttocks and then said in a mocking tone, “Oh my God! I can’t believe I just did that….but it’s a nice ass.” The lawsuit further asserted that on another occasion, our client was in the official’s office when he grabbed her to hug her, reached from the side, reached around, and grabbed her breast. The Complaint made additional allegations of inappropriate physical contact and comments.
After our client came forward to speak up, the lawsuit alleged, she suffered retaliation. Among other things, the school removed many of her duties, and allegedly barred her from campus. Thus she remained at home during the school year, with little in the way of assigned projects. Nonetheless, the school continued to pay her full salary right up to the moment the settlement check was received.
Our client was thoroughly satisfied with the outcome, knowing that her voice was heard loud and clear. The settlement allows her to close this chapter in her career, and to end her employment there with complete vindication.