Monday, May 28, 2018
Education

Hernando County teacher files gender discrimination complaint

BROOKSVILLE — An Eastside Elementary School teacher has filed a gender discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Heather McCarty, a 44-year-old third-grade teacher at the school east of Brooksville, filed the complaint recently, district officials confirmed this week. They declined to provide more details, citing advice from legal counsel.

Pending complaints are not public record, and EEOC officials do not release or comment on them, so the circumstances of McCarty's grievance are unclear. She did not return a phone message left by the Times.

Employees can file a complaint if they suspect they have been discriminated against because of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability or age. Complaints are often addressed in mediation. If not, or if mediation fails, an EEOC investigator will take the case, according to the commission's website.

If an investigation finds a violation, the commission seeks a voluntary settlement with the employer. If that fails, the case goes to the commission's legal staff to decide whether the agency should file a lawsuit. The employee can sue if the commission opts not to.

Heather Martin, executive director of business services, declined to say how far along McCarty's complaint is in the process.

McCarty is a member of the local teachers union, but did not seek help for the matter, said Joe Vitalo president of the Hernando Classroom Teachers Association.

Beverly Chapin, the school's principal, is McCarty's direct supervisor and currently the sole administrator at the school. Chapin decided to cut the assistant principal position during last year's round of budget cuts.

McCarty joined the district in 2002, working as a teacher at J.D. Floyd Elementary for a year before heading to Eastside. She spent six years there, worked for a year at Explorer K-8, then returned to Eastside at the start of the 2010-11 school year.

She has had at least two perfect annual evaluations in recent years, including one by Chapin for the 2008-09 school year. Her disciplinary record is free of blemishes.

Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or [email protected]

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