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May 9, 2013 / Admin

Lawsuit Filed by Teacher Fired for Having an Accent

A former Arizona teacher has filed an employment discrimination lawsuit saying she was forced to quit after suffering through years of discrimination because she had an accent.

Gladis Mopecha is a Cameroonian woman and former teacher for the Gilbert Public School District in Arizona.  Mopecha helped students at the school improve their language skills as an English-language learner specialist.  From her hiring in 2005, through 2007, Mopecha received positive reviews for her work.  Then in 2008, Mopecha says, the school’s reviews became critical.  Specifically Mopecha was told to get rid of her Cameroonian accent.  In an attempt to please the school, Mopecha attended expensive linguistic training classes in an attempt to hide or improve her accent, but to no avail.  Mopecha’s overall review in 2009 improved, but she was still reprimanded for her accent.

Following the 2009 review Mopecha’s workload increased significantly.  According to the lawsuit the increase in workload was aimed at reducing her work quality and causing her stress.

Mopecha says she eventually resigned due to the massive work load and repeated attempts to force her out of her job.  Her child, who attended school in the Gilbert Public School District, was also subjected to harassment.  Her lawsuit seeks damages based on racial discrimination.

Federal law protects employees from being treated unfavorably because he/she is of a certain race or because of personal characteristics associated with race.  States have their own laws that also protect employees from discrimination based on their race.  California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) allows employees who have suffered racial discrimination to file a private suit for their injuries.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of racial harassment at the hands of an employer or at the workplace, please contact Khorrami, LLP for a confidential consultation.

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