DECATUR — A former teacher who says she was discriminated against because she took leave during her pregnancy will be paid $42,500 under a settlement agreement with the Decatur School District.
The district’s board approved the agreement with former French Academy teacher Angela Curry during its Tuesday meeting, denying any wrongdoing in the case but saying that “further litigation would be tedious and expensive for all concerned.”
Curry, who was named as Angela Bowman in the initial complaint, filed a lawsuit Oct. 18, 2017, in U.S. District Court in Urbana. The lawsuit alleges that she was let go because she took authorized family medical leave while pregnant in fall 2015. She had been a kindergarten teacher and started work for the district in August 2014.
District spokeswoman Maria Robertson said the district does not comment on pending litigation. French Principal Julie Fane, also named in the lawsuit, said she could not comment, based on legal advice.
John A. Baker, an attorney for Curry, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday afternoon.
Employers are required to provide medical leaves of absence, such as during pregnancy, under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. Curry's absence came at a critical time as French Academy transitioned to a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program, she said in the court documents.
Curry said she was warned by Fane that she should transfer to another school in the district, rather than continuing at French and taking her medical leave there. Curry said she was threatened that her performance evaluations would decline and she could ultimately be let go, and that is what happened, according to the lawsuit.
In its December 2017 response to Curry's initial complaint, the school district denied that Curry was treated differently because she had taken leave. It said Curry was terminated for other reasons and "failed to do her job in a satisfactory manner."
Court records show that the parties reported reaching a settlement agreement on March 7.
As part of the settlement agreement, Curry would waive legal claims against the district. The district would have 21 days to pay her $42,500, which it stipulated are not wages but “damages paid in settlement of contested claims.” Curry would agree not to apply for future jobs with the district.