Bobo-Jones claims discrimination and retaliation

Ella Beiser, Assistant Editor

Daniel Bobo-Jones filed two separate charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a branch of the Department of Justice, against the Laboratory Schools administration — one before and another after his employment was terminated Jan. 8 — claiming both discrimination and retaliation. The Faculty Association, the union representing members of the faculty, filed a separate grievance with the administration claiming the termination of Mr. Bobo-Jones violated the collective bargaining agreement.

“The FA believes the administration’s response is an overreaction and that his firing is without just cause,” James Catlett, FA president, wrote in an email to the faculty that was obtained by the Midway.

The FA filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board Jan. 14 for the termination of Mr. Bobo-Jones. The documents, which the Midway obtained through a public records request, state that the “retaliation came suspiciously timed after a written criticism and a written rebuttal of the director’s activities.”

After a series of meetings in October and December, Mr. Bobo-Jones filed his first set of charges with the EEOC and DOJ in December because he believed he was being discriminated against for being openly gay. He said he believes that his straight colleagues would not have been treated similarly.

“I got the distinct feeling that I had been treated differently because of my open status,” he said.

Two weeks after Mr. Bobo-Jones informed the administration of the charges, he was fired.

Principal Stephanie Weber declined to comment on the claims Mr. Jones filed against the administration.

Mr. Bobo-Jones told the Midway that he believes he was fired partially due to the charges he filed in December. He thinks that this is an unfair reason to fire him so he chose to file more charges with the EEOC and DOJ for “suspicious timing” and a retaliatory dismissal.

Mr. Catlett, Mr. Bobo-Jones and Lab Schools Director Charlie Abelmann met Jan. 18, where Mr. Catlett and Mr. Bobo-Jones presented their contract grievance to Dr. Abelmann. Dr. Abelmann has until Jan. 28 to decide whether he agrees with the FA’s grievance.

If Dr. Abelmann does not reinstate Mr. Bobo-Jones, the union has until Feb. 4 to send a final letter to the school asking them to hire a private judge, known as an arbitration officer, who will listen to both sides of the case and make a ruling.