Former teacher sues Clare Schools

July 26, 2019

By Pat Maurer

Clare Public Schools is involved in a lawsuit in the United States District Court – Eastern District of Michigan filed last November by former Adult Education Teacher Julie Mayra, who claims her job was terminated because of “sex discrimination and retaliation.”

In the defendant’s (Clare Public School’s) answer to the complaint, they “deny the allegations of Mayra’s complaint as being “legally and factually unfounded.” They claim the discipline against Mayra was “pursuant to the policies and procedures set forth by the district.” and deny the remaining allegations “as being untrue or otherwise inaccurate.” They also deny liability or damages in connection with the allegations and deny the claims of sexual discrimination.

Mayra filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in October of 2017.

She began working for Clare Schools around August, 2012. The docket for the U.S. District Court filing says, “Plaintiff (Mayra), who is lesbian, said she was open about her sexual orientation with the staff at Clare Schools,” and was promoted to a full-time position during her employment.

She claims she had a good working relationship with the staff and administration until the 2016-17 year, when the Board of Education hired new Superintendent Jim Walter and new Principal Georgette Kelly, a member of the Pentecostal Church, who “publicly displays her dislike of homosexuals.”

Mayra said she was never disciplined before Kelly became her supervisor.
She claims she was given an Individual Development Plan (IDP) without being consulted and was the only teacher given an IDP, even though her students tested higher for college readiness in her subject area than in other subject areas.

She believes she was “singled out” by Kelly because of her sexual orientation.

Mayra filed a formal complaint to the school board in November of 2016 followed by documentation in December and by the complaint to the EEOC in January.

In April, 2017, Mayra was notified she was being laid off due to budgetary reasons with the layoff effective August 18th.

She said she was the only teacher laid off, and that after her layoff, the School Administration posted a position comparable to hers. In June she received her final evaluation giving her an overall rating of “ineffective” based on absences, many Family Medical Leave Act related. She said she was turned down for FMLA leave for stress and anxiety because of Kelly’s treatment.

After her layoff, Mayra said she applied for several other open positions at the district, but was not hired with the jobs going to less qualified applicants. She claims if she was heterosexual, she wouldn’t have been treated in that manner.

She is asking for legal fees, legal costs, damages and reinstatement to the school district and is demanding a jury trial.

The Clare Public School District’s filing says, “The plaintiff (Mayra) completed her probationary teacher contract of employment in full and, further was not entitled to tenure by virtue of her failure to perform her job duties and responsibilities in a satisfactory manner and any such decision not to extent her employment was based on lawful and legitimate reasons and not on any protected class, discrimination and/or retaliation, including those enumerated in the Plaintiff’s Complaint.”

Mayra is represented by Julie A. Gafkay, of Gafkay Law, PLC in Frankenmuth.

Clare Public Schools is represented by Gregory W. Mair, of O’Neill, Wallace of Saginaw.

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