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Employment discrimination case results in $3.5 million jury award

Colorado parents put a lot of faith into school teachers. Teachers are the ones who are entrusted with the huge responsibility of steering school kids down the right path with their education and ensuring that every kid lives up to their potential. Being a teacher should easily be considered one of the hardest jobs in America, and most teachers are held in very high esteem by the school districts that employ them. That is why when a teacher gets fired it will usually raise a few eyebrows in the community.

That was the case for one teacher, who was fired not because of her own actions but because of the actions of a man with whom she had formerly had a relationship. It is an odd story, but the school district fired the teacher because her former live-in boyfriend was convicted of having sexual relationships with student athletes, as well as making child pornography. It appears that the school district labeled the teacher "guilty by association," even though she came out as saying she did not know what her boyfriend had been up to.

Fortunately for this teacher, she pursued her legal options because of this employment discrimination and filed a lawsuit for wrongful termination. A jury verdict came down on the teacher's side, and the jury awarded $3.5 million to her to cover emotional distress, future lost pay and back wages.

Although many states are "at-will" employment states, meaning that anyone can be fired any time, even if there is no reason at all, this does not mean that employees can be fired for illegal reasons that constitute employment discrimination. An employer who fires an employee for illegal reasons can, and should, be held accountable.

Source: NewsChannel34.com, "Ex Newark Valley Teacher Wins Lawsuit," Sept. 19, 2013

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