Can a per diem teacher maintain a pregnancy-related discrimination action when she alleges that the DOE did not assign her substitute teaching positions for being pregnant?

Yes. In March 2008, plaintiff obtained her substitute teacher’s certificate from the DOE. From September 2008 through December 2008, she worked as a substitute teacher in various schools in Queens. In January 2009, plaintiff interviewed at a different school and at the end of the interview, the principal informed her that she would be used as a substitute teacher at P.S. 25. In February 2009, plaintiff received her first substitute teaching assignment at P.S. 25. While at P.S. 25, plaintiff and other substitute teachers there received substitute teaching assignments in one of three ways: (1) through a fully automated platform called SubCentral, (2) by Wilson directly asking a substitute teacher to fill in, and (3) by a full-time teacher asking a substitute teacher to fill in.

From February 2009 to June 2010, plaintiff worked as a substitute teacher at P.S. 25 on 171 days. In June 2010, she discovered that she was pregnant. and in July 2010, her pregnancy began to “show.” (After summer break in July and August 2010, school started again in September 2010.

On September 16, 2010, Cameron emailed the principal to inform him that she had renewed her substitute teaching license. By October 26, 2010, however, plaintiff still had not been contacted for any substitute teaching assignments at P.S. 25. On that day, plaintiff visited P.S. 25 in-person and went to the principal’s office to speak directly with him. According to the plaintiff, the principal informed her at that time that he  had heard she was pregnant, and had not contacted her for teaching assignments because the school did not want to be liable for any injury to plaintiff.

The next day, October 27, Cameron received an email from Wilson asking Cameron to serve as a substitute teacher on October 28, 2010. On October 28 and 29, 2010, Cameron in fact served as a substitute teacher at P.S. 25.

According to plaintiff, on October 29, 2010, a first grade teacher at P.S. 25 asked plaintiff to substitute for her on November 1, 2010. Although plaintiff accepted the assignment, the teacher called plaintiff the next day and canceled. According to plaintiff, the teacher explained during that call that the principal had told her not to use plaintiff as a substitute because she was pregnant.

The DOE moved for summary judgment. Judge Kimba Wood from the Federal District Court, Southern District, denied the motion holding that a reasonable jury could find that the DOE unlawfully discriminated against plaintiff for denying her substitute teaching assignments for being pregnant. The trial is tentatively scheduled for May 7, 2018.

YOLLIA CAMERON, Plaintiff, v. NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, ANITA M. COLEY, in her official capacity and individually, and ESTHER WALKER WILSON, in her official capacity and individually, Defendants.
No. 15-CV-9900 (KMW). United States District Court, S.D. New York. February 21, 2018.


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