African-American employees sue William Penn School District, alleging discrimination

By Philip Gonzales | Sep 14, 2018

PHILADELPHIA — Two African-American employees are suing the William Penn School District, claiming they were passed over for promotions because of alleged racial and gender discrimination.

Elizabeth Brown and Kim Evans-Johnson filed a complaint on Aug. 27, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, against the William Penn School District alleging that the employer violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

The plaintiffs allege lost wages and benefits, emotional distress, anxiety and embarrassment. The plaintiffs hold William Penn School District responsible, because the defendant allegedly" intentionally discriminated against them and did not promote them because they are black," according to court documents.

One such alleged instance occurred roughly 10 years ago, when WPSD appointed Seth Brunner, a white male, to a position as assistant principal.

The plaintiffs say Brunner hadn't even completed coursework or obtained the proper certification.

"WPSD did not select Evans-Johnson and her Black co-worker, Sydney Denkins, each of whom interviewed for this position, had their PA K-12 School Principal Certifications, and were both better qualified than Brunner," the lawsuit says.

Plaintiffs argue "that they have not been promoted or given opportunity to gain administrative experience based on a combination of race and gender discrimination and/or in retaliation for engaging in protected activity," according to the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs request a trial by jury and seek judgment in their favor, for back pay and benefits, front pay and benefits, liquidated damages, interest, attorney’s fees and costs and such other proper relief. They are represented by Scott M. Pollins and Tashell J. Jenkins of Pollins Law in Wayne.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Case number 2:18-cv-03674-GJP

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Pollins Law Firm U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

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