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Teacher alleges age, religious discrimination Catholic school November 15, 2006

Posted by C.A.R.D in Age Discrimination, Card, Catholics, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Discriminate, Discrimination, Jew, Jewish.

TRENTON — A 69-year-old Pennington woman who was fired last year from her teaching job at St. Raphael’s School has filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Trenton alleging discrimination be cause she is Jewish.

Eva Kaplan also claims in the suit filed last week in Superior Court that she lost her job because of her age and that she was replaced by a younger, less qualified teacher.

Kaplan, who began teaching at the school in 1985, was accredited as a non-Catholic in catechism, the suit said.

In 2000, Kaplan switched from teaching art and became the school’s technology coordinator, the suit said. She taught computer science and also maintained the school’s computer network.

In the 2001-02 school year, Diane Kowalewski became principal at St. Raphael. Kowalewski, who is no longer at the school, could not be reached for comment.

Kaplan alleges that Kowalewski repeated a statement by Monsignor Gregory Vaughan that “all those who teach religion in the Diocese of Trenton, in addition to being faithful Catholics, must be certified catechists (teachers of religion).”

In 2003, Kaplan’s schedule was reduced to three days a week from five, despite her tenure, and Kowa lewski suggested that she retire, the suit said. Kaplan lost her health benefits because of the change.

Although several full-time teaching positions were available, Kowalewski refused Kaplan when she showed interest in one of them, the suit said.

In March 2004, a student asked Kaplan if she had seen Mel Gib son’s film “The Passion of the Christ.” Kaplan said she had not and did not plan to. When the student persisted, Kaplan said that based on what she had heard the film was not historically accurate.

After that incident, Kaplan got a letter from Kowalewski “that distorted the facts of the conversation and included a threat of termination,” the suit said.

In March 2005, Kaplan asked for a three-day leave of absence to attend her grandson’s circumcision ceremony and was rebuffed. She was fired in June 2005 “without just cause,” the suit said.

Kaplan claims these are only a few of the incidents of “harassment” that happened during her employment at the school.

She is asking the court to award her compensatory and punitive damages, back pay and benefits and court costs.

Rayanne Bennett, a spokeswoman for the diocese, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

C.a.r.d Source: NJ.com

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