A straightforward sex discrimination claim.

Kala Winn, teacher/coach, sued Cleburne ISD alleging sex discrimination.  The facts alleged in the suit run the gamut from minor to major issues.  The district tried to get the entire case dismissed and was mostly successful. But the court did not completely dismiss the suit. 

Ms. Winn’s allegations included the following:

*She had to teach more classes than the male coaches.

*She had to teach at two separate campuses.

*She was paid less than male counterparts with similar experience.

*After she complained about the pay, she was scrutinized by her supervisors more than male employees.

*She was “written up” for some minor problems.

*She was treated worse than male colleagues with regard to complaints and investigations.

*She was placed on administrative leave, without an explanation, after a parent complaint. Male coaches in similar circumstances were treated better.

*She was finally demoted from head coach of the softball team and replaced by a man.

The court discounted some of the complaints, noting that:

an employee’s engagement in a protected activity cannot immunize that employee from those petty slights or minor annoyances that often take place at work and that all employees experience.”

But not all of Ms. Winn’s complaints fell into the “petty slights” category.  The court noted the allegations that 1) she was paid less than male colleagues for similar work; and 2) she was demoted and replaced by a man.  Ms. Winn also alleged that these actions amounted to intentional sex discrimination in light of the fact that she had worked in the district for seven years, had coached for four, and had “received excellent observations and summatives over the years.”  Key Quote:

….the Court finds she has sufficiently pleaded a plausible claim for disparate treatment discrimination, specifically alleging facts showing she has suffered adverse employment actions because of her membership in a protected class.  

This was just a first step in this case.  Ms. Winn still bears the burden of proving the truth of her allegations.  At this stage, since this was a Motion to Dismiss, the court accepts the allegations as true, and determines whether or not such allegations, if true, would amount to sex discrimination. 

The case is Winn v. Cleburne ISD, decided by the federal district court for the Northern District of Texas on January 2, 2020.  We found it at 2020 WL 30349.


See you next week, Readers. We’re taking a spring break this month….but not next week.