EMPLOYER DISCRIMINATION; ADVERSE ACTIONS – Transfer, Promotion, or Demotion; Work Assignments and Opportunities

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503.05000 – Transfer, Promotion, or Demotion; Work Assignments and Opportunities

The Board affirmed the ALJ’s finding that school teacher established a prima facie case that school district was at least partially motivated by retaliatory animus when it assigned her to report for a job each day that had no duties, but that school district proved its affirmative defense by showing that it would have taken the same actions even in the absence of protected activity. The Board agreed with the ALJ that requiring a teacher to report each day for a “do-nothing” assignment is an adverse action. The Board, however, reversed the ALJ’s conclusions that certain written directives were not adverse actions, finding them to be integrally related to the “do nothing” assignment. The written directives prohibited the teacher from offering to cover classes for other teachers, entering classrooms during instructional time, visiting with teachers during preparation time, and using the school’s instructional supplies or office equipment. The directives also required the teacher to attend professional development courses in which teacher shared lesson plans, even though teacher did not have any lesson plans to share because she had no students. A reasonable employee would see management’s directives as adverse, because they were part and parcel of the “do nothing” job assignment.