A Danville schools employee is suing her bosses, alleging she was demoted after challenging Superintendent Carmen Coleman’s role in the hiring of another employee.
Sharon Faul — who served as director of the school district’s Family Resource and Youth Services Center from 1997 until her demotion to instructional aide on June 30 — filed the complaint last week in Boyle Circuit Court naming Coleman and school board members as defendants. It seeks unspecified compensatory damages for lost wages, humiliation and emotional distress, as well as punitive damages “to deter any future violations by the defendants.”
According to the lawsuit, the resource center had a vacant position last fall and was in the process of hiring an assistant. The hiring committee, consisting of Faul, members of the center’s advisory board and a principal, reviewed all applicants and selected two finalists, both black women who were qualified for the position, the lawsuit states.
Coleman, however, passed on both of the candidates vetted by the committee and chose another district employee for the position, “without input or agreement from the committee,” the complaint maintains.
Faul, who is white, then complained that Coleman’s actions “were in violation of hiring procedures and subverted the hiring process,” and that one of the applicants recommended by the committee was “supremely qualified” for the job while the person Coleman selected was not.
After that “confrontation,” Faul received a negative yearly evaluation from Coleman, who later used the poor evaluation to justify Faul’s demotion, the lawsuit states.
Prior to 2011, Faul’s annual reviews were conducted by the principals at the high school and middle school, and she had received good evaluations. But Coleman decided to conduct Faul’s evaluation at the end of 2011, after Faul had complained about Coleman’s role in hiring an assistant at the resource center, the complaint alleges.
Faul’s work and program were “unreasonably and overly scrutinized and unduly criticized,” the lawsuit contends, and Coleman “yelled” at Faul during a professional meeting and ignored Faul on other occasions. Faul was given no plan or tools for improving her performance after the bad review, according to the lawsuit.
Coleman’s actions toward Faul were retaliatory in nature, in violation of the state’s Whistleblower Act and Faul’s right to due process, the complaint states.
None of the defendants have yet responded to the allegations in the lawsuit. Coleman and school attorney Vince Pennington could not be reached for comment Friday.