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NY Teacher, 80, Fired Over Bathroom Breaks?

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on August 04, 2011 6:43 AM

Lillie Leon may be a teaching veteran, but that does not mean her job is secure - the New York teacher was fired recently. According to Leon, she was terminated because she complained about escorting her students to their bathroom breaks.

Leon, 80, has three decades of teaching experience, according to the New York Daily News.

She has bad knees and uses a cane to help her walk. Because of the school policy, she is required to escort her kindergarten students to the bathroom which is all the way across the cafeteria and on the other side of the school.

Leon claims that she was fired because she complained about having to escort her students to the restroom, according to the New York Daily News.

Leon has a clean teaching record, according to the New York Post.

However, documents in the termination proceeding against Leon claims that the fired teacher had allegedly called students' parents, leaving them messages saying that she would not be their children's babysitter and that she wouldn't "bathroom" their kids, the New York Post reports.

In the termination proceedings, an arbitrator agreed with the school that Leon's behavior was amounting to refusal to teach and insubordination, and sided with the school in its decision to terminate Leon, according to the New York Post. Leon disagrees.

Leon claims she was terminated wrongfully, and is requesting that she be reinstated for one year before retiring, according to the New York Daily News.

Was the school's behavior age discrimination under federal law? Generally, it is impermissible for employers to discriminate and terminate employees solely because of their age if the employee is over 40.

However, if the court finds that Lillie Leon's claims of age discrimination do not have merit, or that the New York teacher was fired because of insubordination and not because of discrimination, it's likely that Leon will not prevail.

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