West Virginia Record

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Black teacher alleges race was factor in firing from Southwestern Community Action Council


By Carrie Bradon | May 29, 2019

Wrongful term 04

HUNTINGTON – A Cabel County woman alleges her race was a factor in her termination as a teacher in a Head Start program.

Tosha M. Hairston filed a complaint in Cabell Circuit Court against Southwestern Community Action Council Inc. citing the West Virginia Human Rights Act.

The suit states that the plaintiff is a black woman and was employed by the defendant as a pre-K teacher. 

On April 10, 2017, the suit states the plaintiff left her classroom during nap time for 30 minutes to attend to a family emergency, leaving the children in the care of her teaching assistant. The plaintiff alleges she opened the conjoining door with the classroom next door, which was a school policy to maintain the student-teacher ratio. The plaintiff alleges she was told that no incidents took place while she was gone. 

The suit states plaintiff was suspended from her position on April 12, 2017, because the defendant alleged that her brief absence on April 10 left her classroom with a non-compliant student-teacher ratio. The plaintiff returned to work on April 17, 2017, and alleges she was routinely monitored while on the job. The plaintiff was then terminated on April 20, 2017, in connection with her leave on April 10, the suit states.

The plaintiff alleges similarly situated employees not in her protected class were treated more favorably and that she was replaced by a white employee.

The plaintiff is seeking all reasonable sums due, attorney fees and court costs. The plaintiff is represented by Dwight L. Staples of Henderson, Henerson & Staples LC in Huntington.

The case has been assigned to Judge Alfred Ferguson.

Cabell Circuit Court case number 19-C-181

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