A former New Jersey high school teacher will receive a six-figure sum to settle a lawsuit he filed against his employer in which he claimed a hostile work environment, alleging that he was forced to endure harassment after his sexual orientation was revealed by a student in the middle of class.
The suit was filed by Kevin McManus, a former Spanish teacher at the Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School, NJ.com reported. The school’s Board of Education agreed to pay out $110,000 to the teacher amid McManus’s insistence that the school did nothing the curb rampant harassment by students for being gay.
McManus began working at the school in 2008, but the harassment allegedly began in 2011, when a student publicly revealed that McManus is gay. According to the lawsuit, students began to pester McManus with jeers like “don’t drop the soap” and “do you like fudge?”
Tired of the disrespectful behavior and sometimes unable to get his classroom under control, McManus complained to school administrators about the students’ behavior. That only made things worse: Jamie Morales, the school’s disciplinary coordinator, allegedly told one of the student bullies to “keep doing what you’re doing” and to “document Mr. McManus’ activity during class.”
McManus then opted to file a complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, but that only caused school officials to ban him from using certain types of personal days, deny medical paid leaves of absence, and ultimately demand his resignation as a tenured teacher or risk delaying his disability retirement.
Under the settlement, the terms of the agreement will remain confidential and the payment cannot be held up as an admission of guilt on the part of the school or its employees. McManus will receive about $66,905 of the $110,000 and the rest will be paid to attorneys.