EC schools worker files lawsuit over suspension
By Teresa Auch Schultz email@example.com October 19, 2012 5:14PM
Updated: November 21, 2012 6:11AM
A School City of East Chicago employee claims in a federal lawsuit that the only reason she was suspended last year was so the school district wouldn’t be accused of unfairly disciplining another employee of a different race.
Susan Torres, a clerical employee at the district’s central office, filed her lawsuit Friday in the U.S. District Court in Hammond against the district.
The lawsuit claims she had never been disciplined in her 26 years with the school system until a year ago after she handed out union literature during working hours to other employees.
She was told a few days later in a meeting with Elaine Martinez, director of Human Resources, and Frank Ramirez, former treasurer, that she was being suspended because of the incident. She was also denied union representation at the meeting, according to the suit.
Ramirez has since pleaded guilty in federal court to taking a bribe through his office with the school.
When Torres returned to work after a five-day unpaid suspension, she and a union attorney met with Ramirez, who told her she was suspended for giving the union notices out during work time, even though Ramirez admitted she had no scheduled breaks.
The suit says Ramirez then told Torres, who is Hispanic, that the district had to suspend her because it also suspended a black bus driver for handing out literature to students encouraging them to boycott school.
Torres is asking for back pay and damages.