LOS ANGELES, March 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Sunita Batra, who served as Director of Special Education and worked in the field for over 25 years, has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against Burbank Unified School District. Batra is being represented by Carney Shegerian, the founder of Los Angeles-based employee rights law firm Shegerian & Associates.
According to the lawsuit, the problems began for Batra after Matt Hill became BUSD Superintendent, Tom Kissinger became her supervisor, and Steve Ferguson joined the BUSD Board as a member.
In the summer of 2015, Batra was asked by Kissinger to assess two students for special education over the summer. The orders originally came from Ferguson. Batra informed him this would violate special education laws because students need to be observed in a school environment. Both were angered and asked why it could not be done. Batra then consulted with the District's Outside Counsel who informed her that such an assessment would be illegal.
Kissinger began giving Batra unfounded poor performance evaluations. In one instance, Kissinger wrote Batra up for allegedly accusing a custodian of stealing her lunch, which all witnesses refuted. Kissinger also wrote Batra up for challenging the legality of an IEP. Alarmingly, Batra's challenge was made along with outside counsel who agreed that said IEP outcome put the district out of compliance.
Kissinger's reports of illegality continued repeatedly and his treatment of Batra became progressively worse. In the spring of 2016, Hill held a meeting with Batra and Laurie B., during which Laurie agreed to provide special education students mental health services per their IEP. During the 2014-15 school year, Laurie denied these requests when it was decided BFS, Burbank Family Services, would not provide mental health services.
Kissinger then drafted the contract without consulting Batra and received the school board approval. BFS was then brought in to provide services with Batra was opposed to, and no request for proposal was done prior to selecting BFS as a vendor to the district.
In the spring of 2016, Batra's doctor put her on a lengthy stress leave due to stress, anxiety, depression, and relation physical manifestations from her treatment at work.
In late 2016, BFS began providing services to special needs students in place of the old provider, Hillsides, which began while Batra was out on medical leave. Just one year prior, it had been decided that BFS did not have the requisite skills or experience to adequately serve special needs students.
While on medical leave, Hill, Kissinger, and the Board demoted Batra to school psychologist, a position she had not held for over twenty years, which also came with a large pay cut. Shortly afterwards, Batra, at the advice of her doctor due to the stress and physical symptoms of her workplace harassment, resigned.
"The humiliation, stress, and anxiety that Batra suffered from due to legitimate concerns over school procedures is deeply concerning," Shegerian says.
About Shegerian & Associates:
Shegerian & Associates has won clients over $200 million in employment-based disputes and maintains a 98% success rate. We have offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside and New York.
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SOURCE Shegerian & Associates