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rayanswers, Attorney
Category: Education Law
Satisfied Customers: 41036
Experience:  Texas lawyer for 30 years representing children and parents.
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I live in Florida and am a High School Guidance Counselor. I

Customer Question

I live in Florida and am a High School Guidance Counselor. I was served a formal notice that a meeting will be set for the following Monday when I return after my weekend, I was presented with this letter, which I had to sign, Friday afternoon before leaving. It was presented to me by my principal and states it is to meet to discuss the following concerns: Job Performance...and also states that I am entitled to bring representation. My question is, am I able to bring legal representation or just my union rep, or both. I know it will be at least two administrators at the conference and it will be held in a large conference room and not one of my administrator's offices. Thank you for your help as it is difficult to find what is allowable or if I have to notify them ahead of time as to who will be joining me.
JA: Because education law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Florida
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: Pinellas County to be exact. No I have not. I just have friend that was offering to sit in with me as she is a lawyer
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: I feel as though I have been given an overabundance of work compared to the other 3 counselors I work with as there are approx 2100 students and I have a case load of 700. Whereas, it should be divided more along the lines of 1/4 or 25% of students per counselor I have 33% approximately. I want to know if this could be a legal issue as my job performance is not coming under scrutiny (I haven't heard their side yet but I am preparing my side as I have done everything in my power to keep up with all of the work). Also, my Assistant Principal who grades and reports to the principal above me seems to have something against me and I feel as though she is making it impossible for me to succeed. Despite my best efforts (not taking a lunch, not given a defined lunch time every day, being told I need to work faster by my administrator even though I am working non stop and taking home work and logging 35 hours a week unpaid outside of my work day I basically just need to know if I should or could bring a legal representative to my meeting on Monday as the letter presented to me stated I could bring a representative so I did not know whether this included the possibility of a lawyer as well
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Education Law
Expert:  rayanswers replied 11 months ago.

Hi and welcome to JA. Ray here to help you today.

By all means you can bring a lawyer, reschedule if you have to here.You may consider filing an EEOC complaint claiming age, race, sex, discrimination as this gives you protection under the law.Once you do that this weekend if they try to terminate you a second EEOC complaint claiming retaliation is in order.I would file this without delay here and you can ask for a reset on this basis and tell them you have retained a lawyer.This is your best protective measures at this point, a complaint and a lawyer may beck them off.

Often when they claim performance they have really used this as a smokescreen for discrimination. They are trying to replace you with say a younger or different person . It seems here the standards are very different for other counselors and their may be hidden motives.

I appreciate the chance to help you today and wish you the best.

Expert:  rayanswers replied 11 months ago.

File here

If you believe that you have been discriminated against at work because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information, youcan file a Charge of Discrimination. All of the laws enforced by EEOC, except for the Equal Pay Act, require you to file a Charge of Discrimination with us before you can file a job discrimination lawsuit against your employer. In addition, an individual, organization, or agency may file a charge on behalf of another person in order to protect theaggrieved person's identity. There are time limits for filing a charge.

A lawyer and a union rep would be the best , the more on your side the better.

Expert:  rayanswers replied 11 months ago.

Lawyer Referral Service Online - Available 24/7

Phone(###) ###-####br />Monday through Friday
8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I meant to say my job performance is now coming under scrutiny*
Also, my questions summarized are (am I entitled to bring a lawyer to sit in to at least take notes and listen, if so must I inform them ahead of time, and does the information provided towards the end lead you to believe I may or may not have a case. I am a 31 year old white female and this is my 3rd year beginning at this job. I have received excellent review the prior two years and it feels as though it is early to be having a job complaint about me. I also filed FMLA for Anxiety Disorder last year which my boss did not seem to like. Is this considered a disability as I did have to take intermittent leave until I regained control of my issue.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I have even sought therapy and am working with a psychiatrist due to my anxiety which as increased since working at this location. I feel as though my African American boss may have something against me.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
She is my Assistant Principal who reports directly to her boss, the Principal of the school
Expert:  rayanswers replied 11 months ago.

You might still file EEOC , you can claim sex, or race here.I am trying to give you protection here, away from job performance.I would file with EEOC it might well save your job and a lawyer here to take with you.And you could also add in ADA because they may not have accommodated your medical needs on the job. Ask for more time so you can bring your lawyer, see if you can reschedule this for say a week.It isn't realistic that you can have counsel on Monday here, they should agree to this.Also you can tell them there is an EEOC complaint on file and you want representation.Race may very well be an issue here.

Thank again.

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