Portland School Lawsuit Defense: Incompetence, Not Discrimination, Got Fernandez Fired

ANGELA PASCOPELLA's picture
Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Portland Public Schools in Oregon, which recently won a big discrimination lawsuit by a demoted special ed principal, faces another potentially expensive lawsuit from the ousted director of its troubled English-as-a-second-language program.

Diana Fernandez, who ran the state's second-largest largest ESL program for more than five years, claims in her suit that she was wrongly fired at age 60 for complaining she was discriminated against as a woman, an older employee and a cancer patient. She seeks $850,000 in damages plus attorney fees.

Unlike the last case, in which school district leaders said an outstanding principal had to be demoted to save money and streamline administration, the district's defense centers on blistering reviews of Fernandez's performance.

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