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Teacher Alleges Discrimination Based on Child Phobia

Posted on in Employment

An interesting new lawsuit being watched by San Jose disability discrimination lawyers alleges that a school district in Ohio discriminated against a teacher, because she has a unique disability- specifically, a fear of young children.

Sixty-one year-old Maria Walther-Willard worked for the Mariemont school district for 5 years. She worked in the high school division, but in 2010, the school district moved her from the high school division to its junior high. She alleges that she was then pressured to resign.

According to the lawsuit, she was moved from the high school to the junior school, so that she would be uncomfortable and re-sign. Willard suffers from a rare disability called pedophobia, which involves a fear of children, specifically young children. She suffers from anxiety, stress, anxiety, nightmares, nausea and vomiting when she's around young children. Her blood pressure skyrockets placing her at risk of a heart attack. This is a rare disorder, but it is a well-established condition.

According to the lawsuit, she has suffered from this disability for years, and the school was aware of it. The school district had assured her, however, that she would not need to be around young children in her job.
Three of the claims in her lawsuit have already been dismissed by the judge. In these claims, she had alleged that the school district had violated an implied contract that would keep her away from young children. In response, the judge has ruled that the school did not force her to resign.

According to the lawsuit, she got into some trouble with the school district, and in retaliation, they transferred her to the junior school. Although she continued teaching junior high, her blood pressure was often at very high levels. She retired in 2011, and filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity commission. The complaint was dismissed, leaving the door open for a lawsuit.

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