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School district sued by employee for wrongful termination

A former employee of a Long Island school district has filed a lawsuit for wrongful termination. The district claims he was dismissed for poor job performance, but the victim feels it was a retaliatory act resulting from his exposure of the district's widespread grade-changing trend. The claimant stated he is being punished for blowing the whistle on the school district, which has one of the lowest graduation rates on Long Island. Out of 24 schools reporting test scores, it landed dead last on the list.

The assistant director of technology was fired in July following his exposure of the grade-changing practice of rounding up scores to the minimum passing rate of 65. He alleges all students with 63's and 64's were automatically changed to 65 to make the district look good. According to school officials, this practice is no longer in place, but they claim this is a routine action in reporting grades in public schools. Spokespersons for other schools say this trend is not practiced in their districts.

A spokesperson for the district reminded the public that a couple of months prior to the scandal, the board held a meeting during which several administrators were put on the chopping block. The assistant director was one of them. The school board steadfastly maintains the employee was let go due to job issues but has not elaborated on what those were.

Legal advisors for the employee have indicated the claimant will proceed with his New York wrongful termination suit. Since New York is an at-will state, termination of employment is allowed unless a worker's rights are violated in the process. Employers cannot terminate an employee for reporting their illegal actions to authorities. They cannot fire an employee for refusing to do something illegal as part of their job. Employees who think they are victims of wrongful termination can file a lawsuit, which could result in reinstatement to their job or recovery of lost wages and damages.

Source: lawyersandsettlements.com, "Former Hempstead District Employee to Sue for New York Wrongful Termination" Gordon Gib, Sep. 02, 2013

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