Teacher suing district lost previous complaint

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Education > Attorneys differ on whether finding would have an effect on pending litigation

By John Severance and Tris DeRoma

A judgment made earlier this year by the New Mexico Human Rights Division of the State of New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions could affect the outcome of a pending lawsuit filed against the Los Alamos Public School District by a school employee.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court by Mountain Elementary teacher Zeynep Unal, alleges she was forced out of her teaching position at Aspen Elementary through the use of trumped up disciplinary actions allegedly used to intimidate, harass and discriminate against her.

“Defendants unlawfully discriminated against the plaintiff through their repeated and continued harassment of her,” a statement in the lawsuit read. “The repeated and continuous harassment included unfounded disciplinary actions, an attempted improper termination and other adverse actions and unequal terms and conditions of employment.

The Defendants engaged in this repeated and continuous harassment because of the plaintiff’s national origin in violation of her rights under federal and state law.”

Unal is from Turkey. The lawsuit was filed April 18. Besides the Los Alamos School District, Unal also named Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gene Schmidt and Aspen Elementary School principal Kathryn Vandenkieboom as defendants.

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