A federal appeals court has reinstated an age-discrimination lawsuit filed by a district administrator who was demoted amid questions from her superiors about when she would retire.
Judy F. Jones was 59 and the executive director of curriculum and instruction for the Oklahoma City schools in 2007 when her position was eliminated and she was reassigned as an elementary school principal. According to court papers, her $98,000 salary was cut by $17,000.
A month later, the district created a new position of executive director of teaching and learning, with duties similar to Ms. Jones’ former job, and hired someone younger. Ms. Jones sued under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Her lawsuit maintains that during the 2006-07 school year, three district officials had asked about her retirement plans.
A federal district court judge granted summary judgment to the district, ruling that no juror could reasonably conclude that the school system had committed age discrimination. Last week, however, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit reversed that decision, ruling that the district judge was wrong to require Ms. Jones, at that stage, to present additional evidence of age bias. The ruling means her case could go to trial.
A version of this article appeared in the September 01, 2010 edition of Education Week as Administrator’s Age-Bias Lawsuit Revived by Federal Appeals Court