Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Winslow school bias lawsuit revived


By JIM WALSH • Courier-Post Staff • April 15, 2011

WINSLOW — A white man, who was fired by the township school district after complaining of reverse discrimination, can sue under the state's Whistleblower's Law, an appeals court ruled Thursday.

The decision revived a legal challenge by Jerry Hester, a former director of facilities and operations for the Winslow district. He is suing the school board and former board president Patricia Parker.

Hester contends his August 2007 dismissal was payback for his internal complaint, made in December 2005, and his civil suit, filed in May 2007, that claimed he faced bias due to his race.

District officials pointed instead to problems at the local high school, including mouse droppings in the cafeteria that led to citations from Camden County health officials in 2007.

A Superior Court judge initially dismissed Hester's suit. But a three-judge panel said Thursday that Hester should be able to argue as a whistleblower, saying his complaints, if true, would show illegal activity in the district.