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Court Rejects Bias Lawsuit

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WASHINGTON--The U.S. Supreme Court last week declined a suburban-Chicago school superintendent's request for review of a case stemming from his dismissal of his female executive secretary.

The suit, Tinley Park Community Consolidated School District v. Jennings (Case No. 86-1423), involves charges by the secretary that she was fired illegally in 1980 in retaliation for her complaint that male workers earned disproportionately more overtime pay than females.

The superintendent has countered that she was fired because she took her dispute directly to the local school board, and that, as a result, he lost faith and confidence in her.

A federal district court in May 1985 rejected the secretary's charge that her dismissal violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A federal appeals court, however, sent the case back to the district judge with instructions that he determine whether the superintendent's reasons were "legitimate.''

In papers filed with the Supreme Court, the superintendent unsuccessfully argued that the order remanding the case to the lower court was unnecessary because his decision to dismiss the secretary did not violate Title VII.

In other action last week, the Court also declined to review a lawsuit stemming from a California community college's agreement to provide instructors with a retroactive raise under a 1982 contract with an American Federation of Teachers local.

Los Angeles school officials, who oversee the college's finances, blocked the raises, citing a state constitutional provision barring government expenditures if revenues are insufficient to cover costs. But state courts accepted the union's argument that the raises did not violate the provision.

College officials responded to those rulings by attempting to force their insurers to pay for the raises under a provision in their policies covering them for financial "liabilities imposed by law.''

But federal district and appeals courts ruled that the insurers were not responsible for the payments.

The case was Compton Community College District v. Northwestern National Insurance (No. 86-1388).--T.M.

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