Teacher sues religious school for not renewing contract

Jon Campisi Jan. 4, 2012, 8:12am

A Bucks County, Pa. woman who worked as a science teacher at a suburban Philadelphia religious school for 13 years before she was let go has filed a federal job discrimination lawsuit against her former employer, alleging her teaching contract was not renewed because of her age.

Penndel, Pa. attorney Timothy M. Kolman filed the complaint Dec. 27 at federal court in Philadelphia on behalf of Newtown, Pa. resident Janine Mannick.

The defendant named in the lawsuit is Newtown Friend’s School, a private learning institution run by the Religious Society of Friends, better known as Quakers.

In her lawsuit, Mannick claims that she was notified via letter in March of 2010 that she would not be given a new one-year contract for the 2010-2011 school year.

Mannick was not informed “of any valid reason” why her contract was not being renewed after 13 years of employment, during which the teacher was highly regarded in the performance of her duties, according to the complaint.

“Plaintiff was targeted for non-renewal on account of her age, and was subjected to a series of calculated, bogus accusations regarding her performance, including but not limited to, being placed on a bogus performance improvement plan,” the lawsuit states.

The suit claims that Mannick, who was 56 at the time of her firing, was replaced by a “much younger employee who was not in a protected class.”

“Defendant has discriminated against Plaintiff with respect to terms, conditions and privileges of employment,” the lawsuit states. “In taking these adverse employment actions against Plaintiff, Defendant was substantially motivated by Plaintiff’s age.”

The complaint alleges that Newtown Friends School has implemented employment criteria that “screen out” individuals over 40 years of age, “even though such standards and criteria are not job related and are not consistent with business necessity.”

The lawsuit claims that the school also retaliated against Mannick for her complaints of discrimination, and for her support of other employees who were “improperly and illegally terminated.”

Mannick had filed a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in late August 2010.

The lawsuit accuses the defendant of violating the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

The suit seeks to have the school enjoined from discriminating against employees based on age.

Mannick seeks compensatory and actual damages, liquidated and punitive damages, litigation costs and other equitable and legal relief.

A jury trial is being sought.

The federal case number is 2:11-cv-07884-JP.

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