Trial lawyers Eric D. Gilman and James W. Beck reached a $2.5 million settlement days before a federal jury trial in Seattle, Washington. BCG represented Kristi Smith, an administrator with Clover Park School District No. 400. The lawsuit alleged that Clover Park violated the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Washington Family Leave Act, and engaged in discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD).
Smith had taken medical leave to recover from an injury that she experienced at home. Clover Park changed Smith’s primary job duties on her first day back from medical leave and, shortly thereafter, demoted Smith from her Assistant Superintendent position. The District took these actions despite Smith’s distinguished performance record spanning 30 years in public education. Thereafter, the District passed Smith over for multiple promotions despite her qualifications and failed to investigate reports that Smith was being harassed by coworkers, as required by its own nondiscrimination policies.
“State and federal laws are designed to protect workers just like Ms. Smith,” said attorney Eric Gilman. “You shouldn’t have to worry about losing your job or career because of a short-term injury or illness.” The significant amount of this settlement reflects that the District fell short of its obligations in two fundamental ways, says attorney James Beck. “First, the District should have reinstated Ms. Smith to her position after her medical leave. Second, the District retaliated against Smith for exercising her rights and reporting the mistreatment she experienced.”
Additional media coverage: Clover Park official alleged district demoted her after injury. She settled for $2.5M