Evergreen School District Pays $862,500 to Settle Claims of Former Associate Principal, Elizabeth Uelmen
VANCOUVER, Wash. – On Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, the Evergreen School District (ESD), agreed to pay $862,500 to Elizabeth Uelmen, a former Associate Principal who sued, alleging a hostile work environment, gender discrimination and unlawful retaliation, according to Hagens Berman.
Ms. Uelmen faced retaliation for reporting sexual impropriety on the part of a male Associate Principal named Tim Dotson and chronic absenteeism on the part of her male supervisor – a former Cascade Middle School Principal named Gary Price, according to the firm.
ESD’s internal records obtained during the lawsuit verify that Ms. Uelmen’s reports regarding her two male colleagues were investigated by the district and confirmed to be true. However, at the conclusion of the 2012-2013 academic year, Ms. Uelmen was demoted by ESD superintendent, John Deeder.
During the lawsuit, ESD representatives testified that these two male administrators operated under a different, more advantageous set of rules than those applied to Ms. Uelmen.
“We are extremely proud of Beth for successfully challenging the sexist environment in which she was forced to work,” said Marty McLean, one of Ms. Uelmen’s attorneys. “We hope that Ms. Uelmen’s experience will serve as a wakeup call to the Evergreen School District. This kind of misconduct has no place in our society, but especially in institutions responsible for educating our children.”
After the allegations surfaced, Mr. Dotson was placed on paid administrative leave for nearly 16 months before being allowed to resign his role as Associate Principal.
Mr. Deeder elected to demote Mr. Price to the role of Associate Principal despite the recommendation from ESD investigators that Mr. Price be terminated. According to public records, Mr. Price presently works as an Associate Principal at a high school making nearly $125,000 a year – a more than $10,000 per year pay increase from his salary as a school principal.
Ms. Uelmen was represented by Marty McLean of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro and Brad Davis of the Bradley G. Davis Law Office, both located in Seattle, Washington.
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