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California teacher speaks out against termination

An Encino, California teacher is claiming that she was wrongfully terminated as a result of speaking out against the offensive behavior of the chair of the school board, which occurred at a school fundraiser. The event occurred eight years ago, but has recently been back in the news after a video was released of the chair dressed in an Afro wig with an animal print costume and blackface. His behavior was criticized in the media. One of the teachers at the school was interviewed in March about the incident, which she described as "racially offensive and egregiously inappropriate."

She was placed on indefinite administrative leave by the head of the school, who supported the chair despite his behavior. The rationale for her leave was for engaging in unprofessional misconduct. She was then demoted and then terminated, despite that she had recently renewed her contract. She is now seeking punitive damages for discrimination and wrongful termination, as well as lost wages and benefits.

This woman tried to do the right thing for her school by speaking out against racially insensitive behavior. The school she works for is a private school specializing in educating children with learning disorders. She maintained that as a school serving a minority group, this type of cultural appropriation was inappropriate to their student body as well.

By attempting to do what she felt was best for her students, this woman got herself terminated. Unfortunately, this is often the case for whistleblowers or people who come forward about alleged wrongs in the workplace. An attorney who specializes in wrongful termination suits can be an excellent resource for people in a difficult situation like this one.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Lauren Vaughn, California Teacher, Says She Was Fired For Speaking Out Against School Board Chair's Racist Act, Sues," Nov. 2, 2012

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