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Is it discrimination if an employer harasses you, but does not do so based on a protected status?

Joplin, MO |

What can I do about an employer who uses harassment and bullying but does not make outright discriminate against me based on my protected status? I am a teacher and I missed a lot of work last year because of my disability and a high risk pregnancy. All were legitimate use of my alloted sick days and maternity leave however my boss has now targetted me. He doesn't threaten me based on my state of pregnancy or my disability, (I have narcolepsy) but does harrass me based on other things and does not treat other teachers the same way. For instance I was threatened with my job over not telling a student to take off their hat while I was in 1st stage labor. Later, he put me on a Professional Improvement Plan which interferes with my ability to get another job for not having my grades up-to-date in the system (Keep in mind this was 2 weeks after returning from my 6 week materninty leave) however there were many teachers that had not entered a single grade at 8 weeks into the year. None of these teachers have been disciplined to my knowledge. I am required to enter 2 a week or risk not being renewed. One teacher received the teacher of the year award for caring about students enough to let them come in outside of class to talk to him. He was also praised for dealing with character and moral issues as they came up in his class. I have the same open door policy and since I teach Spanish, cultural and moral issues come up often and I was told "I was hired to teach Spanish, so just teach Spanish. Otherwise you won't be paid for any time you spend off subject." He also told me that I should be glad I was only put on a PIP because he could have "gone to the board about my absenteeism due to my medical conditions and pregnancy and asked them not to renew me but didn't." My boss also provided a brand new smartboard which costs $3,000 to $5,000 depending on if you buy it for a PC or Mac, for a first year new hire, while I am still forced to teach out of a trailer after my 3rd year with the district and have been told the school can't afford to repair the heating/cooling unit which has never functioned. It cools only 5 degrees below the outside tempreture and heats only 15 degrees above the outside tempreture. Last year my students and I were outside having class in tempretures ranging from 103 degrees for 2 weeks solid to 25 degrees for over a month. I was told there was no room in the building for me and instead of being out here for 2 years as I was promised when I was hired, I've been told it will now be 5-7 more years. I was also told there was no money available each year when I have asked for a smartboard. It seems very clear to me that I am being bullied, harrassed, and discriminated against. But because I'm not being harrassed based on my gender, or disability status, I'm not sure what my employer is doing is illegal. Is there ANYTHING I can do aside from quit?

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Attorney answers 1


Your story describes the discrimination but there is not much in the way of evidence that the discrimination basis is the medical condition. The boss' comment about absenteeism is all there is. But that might be enough. I suggest you make an appointment with a labor litigation attorney. That attorney's questions and your answers might identify some other evidence.

This answer must not be relied on as legal advice for the reasons posted here: . And I am not your attorney.


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