A 72-year-old former teacher for a Catholic school in Pasadena is suing her ex-employer and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, alleging she was fired after 49 years for complaining that she was being bullied by supervisors because of her age.
Cynthia Delange’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges wrongful termination, age discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Delange seeks unspecified damages in her complaint filed Thursday.
A spokeswoman for the archdiocese said the lawsuit has not yet been served and she had no immediate comment.
The suit states that Delange began working as an elementary school teacher at St. Andrew Catholic School in 1967.
“Plaintiff has been a loyal and devoted employee whose work performance has been at all times above-average,” the suit states.
Delange taught grades two through seven and her students spanned the generations of many families, the suit states. She became a “pillar in the Catholic educational community” because of her longetivity, the suit states.
But in 2015, a new principal at St. Andrew told Delange the school did not have the money to pay her salary and said, “Maybe it’s time for you to retire,” according to the lawsuit.
At the same time, the principal offered salary hikes to significantly younger teachers, the suit alleges. Although he offered another teacher a salary decrease to save her position, the principal “chose to continue to bully plaintiff into retirement,” the suit states.
Delange “resisted the mounting pressure and harassment related to her age and refused to retire early …,” the suit states. She believes that the principal and one of her supervisors then “retaliated against her by devising a scheme to rid itself of plaintiff, its eldest educator, under the guise of a forced retirement” in order to replace her with a significantly younger person, according to the lawsuit.
In October 2015, Delange’s supervisor embarrassed her in front of numerous students by suggesting her teaching abilities were poor, the suit alleges.
Delange complained to the principal, but neither he nor the archdiocese took corrective action against the supervisor, the suit states.
The principal told Delange on May 20 that her teaching position for the upcoming school year would not be renewed, according to the lawsuit.
“Simply put, because plaintiff would not succumb to harassing behavior by her supervisors, defendants unlawfully terminated her employment,” the suit alleges.
— City News Service
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