A lawsuit filed by a Danville school employee against Superintendent Carmen Coleman and school board members has been moved to federal court.
Sharon Faul filed the complaint last month in Boyle Circuit Court alleging Coleman demoted her from director of the school district’s Family Resources and Youth Services Center because Faul challenged Coleman’s role in the hiring of another employee.
Faul’s demotion to instructional aid after the 2010-11 school year was retaliatory in nature and violates her due process rights under the Kentucky constitution and the state’s Whistleblower’s Act, the lawsuit contends.
Attorneys for Coleman and the school board, however, argued that the matter belongs in federal court because it raises questions about employee discrimination and civil rights. The case has been assigned to Judge Karl S. Forester in U.S. District Court in Lexington.
In the lawsuit, Faul alleges Coleman intervened in the hiring for a vacant assistant position within the resource center last fall. The center’s hiring committee, which included Faul, reviewed all candidates for the job and came up with two finalists, both black women who were qualified for the position, the lawsuit maintains.
Coleman, however, passed on both of the candidates vetted by the committee and chose another district employee for the job “without input or agreement from the committee,” according to the complaint.
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, who had worked at the center since 1998, received a negative yearly evaluation from Coleman, who later used the poor evaluation to justify Faul’s demotion, the lawsuit states. Previously, Faul’s evaluations had been conducted by principals and other administrators, not Coleman, the complaint maintains.
The lawsuit is seeking an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages.
School officials have not yet responded to allegations made in the complaint.