A former Prince George’s County English teacher was recently awarded $350,000 in compensatory damages after successfully suing the school board for discriminating against him because he is white.
Jon Everhart, a 65-year-old English teacher who began working for Largo High School in 2003, filed his discrimination suit in 2010 when he was terminated from his position. As Mr. Everhart’s lawsuit alleges, Ms. Angelique Simpson-Marcus, the school’s principal, consistently subjected him to racial harassment, calling him “poor white trash” and “white b—-.” Mr. Everhart noted that once Ms. Simpson-Marcus became principal, his normally exemplary performance reviews started to worsen, and he was removed from teaching Honors English to juniors and seniors and was instead placed in a freshman English course. He also recounts numerous instances in which Ms. Simpson-Marcus told him and other students and teachers within the school district that she would fire him, stating “the only reason a white teacher teaches in Prince George’s County is that they can’t get a job elsewhere.”
Mr. Everhart is one of several Largo High School employees who have filed harassment claims against Ms. Simpson-Marcus, many of whom claim they were harassed for supporting Mr. Everhart.
The jury found that the school board was in violation of the Civil Right Act for discriminating against an employee on the basis of race, color or national origin, and awarded Mr. Everhart compensatory damages for the high blood pressure and heart problems he sustained as a result of this unlawful treatment. U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte has yet to decide how much Mr. Everhart is entitled to receive in terms of back pay and benefits. The school board has 30 days to respond to the judge’s order and may file an appeal.
Michael Kraemer is one of the founding partners at Kraemer, Manes & Associates, LLC, a Pennsylvania law firm primarily focused on business and employment litigation. For more information, visit www.lawkm.com