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Tesser v. Board of Education

United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
190 F. Supp. 2d 430 (2002)


Facts

Gilda Tesser (plaintiff), a Jewish assistant principal at P.S. 177, applied to be principal. A committee of parents, teachers, Superintendent Donald Weber (defendant), and members of the Community School Board (CSB) (defendant) interviewed her. Tesser complained to Weber that the committee parents opposed her on religious grounds. Weber disagreed. The parents and teachers put forward five candidates, including Tesser, for Weber’s review. Tesser hired an attorney at that point, which Weber criticized. Weber did not recommend Tesser’s appointment because of concerns over her ability to work with the community. The CSB appointed a non-Jewish principal. Weber then reassigned Tesser to P.S. 128, where she had previously worked. Alleging discrimination in the hiring process, Tesser filed a complaint with the Board of Education of the City of New York (BOE) (defendant). Over the next year, Tesser complained that the principal of P.S. 128, Michael Miller (defendant), discriminated against her by changing her office space and enlarging her duties. Those changes had been established while Tesser was working at P.S. 177. Tesser filed a discrimination and retaliation claim with the New York Human Rights Commission (HRC), which, after investigating, gave her whistle-blower status. Tesser sued the defendants in federal court for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq., and the New York City Human Rights Law. Because of scheduling issues, Tesser testified before Weber and Miller at trial. The jury found for the defendants after deliberating for two hours. Tesser moved for judgment as a matter of law or, in the alternative, a new trial.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Garaufis, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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