New York civil rights lawyer David Perecman comments on an alleged case of age discrimination. In New York, an 80-year-old kindergarten teacher said she was fired because she’s old.
“While some younger people may feel the effects of age discrimination, seniors are the group that most often face this type of discrimination. Unusually, this recent civil rights violation case involves a complaint from an employee older than the traditional retirement age of 65,” said New York civil rights violation lawyer Perecman.
According to the New York Daily News, Lillie Leon, a teacher for the New York school system was notified that she had lost her job at P.S. 117 in Queens. According to the New York State Department of Education she was let go, in part, for not escorting her class of 4- and 5-year olds to the bathroom — a job requirement.
The complaint filed by the Department of Education accused Leon of insubordination and neglect of duty. It claimed Leon, who has bad knees and walks with a cane, refused to take her students to the bathroom. As reported by CBS New York, Leon has had “a squeaky clean record for more than 30 years.”
Eighty-year-old Leon disagreed with the reason she was let go, and is suing the city for age and disability discrimination.
Leon claimed school administrators made her job “unworkable” by assigning her to a classroom without its own bathroom. Without the classroom bathroom, Leon was forced to lead the entire kindergarten class through a busy lunchroom any time one of the children needed to use the restroom.
Leon said she requested to teach first graders, where students do not need to have supervision for bathroom breaks. But Leon said her request was ignored.
The school was aware of her walking problems. She had been given the use of an elevator and a parking spot near the school's entrance, according to the suit.
“A person does not have to be fired to be the victim of age discrimination. New York civil rights lawyers understand that often times, rather than fire older workers, companies with an agenda will try to get older workers to quit,” said New York York's civil rights violation lawyer Perecman, founder of The Perecman Firm, one of New York's civil rights violation law firms.
An arbitrator sided with the Department of Education.
A spokeswoman for the City Law Department said lawyers are reviewing the suit.
Leon also has a suit pending against the city in federal court.
“I would hope an elementary school would value older workers and their experience but this does not appear to be the case,” said Perecman, a New York civil rights violation lawyer with over 30 years of experience helping victims of a wide variety of civil rights violations in New York, including age discrimination, race discrimination and sexual harassment.
New York City does not have a mandatory retirement age for school teachers.
“Employers should be aware that in certain situations, wrongful termination or mistreatment of an employee because of their age can result in a civil rights violation lawsuit,” said New York civil rights violation lawyer Perecman.