Books and School

A teacher in Lincoln County, West Virginia, was illegally fired three years ago, but she was finally re-employed and taught for the first couple of days since being reinstated. The judge deemed her firing a wrongful termination since she was not fired for her performance, but due to her sexual orientation.

The firing, which happened in 2013, came when she was working at Guyan Valley Middle School. She doesn't have the same job now, but has been re-hired by the school system, working at Lincoln County High School. She teaches language arts to 10th grade students.

The Judge Says the School Lied

The school did cite performance issues when the teacher was fired, but the judge said they weren't the real issue. The school also made accusations against the teacher, claiming she made students cross dress and look at nude pictures of herself on an iPad. The judge found that these things never happened.

The teacher was happy to have her job back and said that everyone was very nice and supportive this time around, including the students. She noted that many people went out of their way to greet her. When the superintendent was asked, though, he had no comment.

Not only is the teacher employed again, but she'll get back pay and benefits that are worth $150,000. She plans work in the school system until retirement.

Rights Are Expanding

This case shows how rights have been expanding for the LGBTQ community. Not all states have laws regarding sexual orientation and workplace discrimination on the books, but rulings like the one in West Virginia can go a long way toward setting precedents and defining the laws in the future.

Similarly to the way that marriage rights have expanded rapidly over the last few years for same-sex couples, these workplace rights could grow in the months and years to come. As such, it's important for workers to keep an eye on these changes to see what rights they have, especially after a termination.