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A Fairly Strong Claim of Discrimination

PHOENIX (CN) - A black, Jewish principal claims a charter school fired her after subjecting her to intolerable treatment: setting up a Holocaust exhibit outside her office, forcing her to walk past a swastika and "to go into the gas chamber in order to go into her office."

Millicient McNeil sued the Mission Charter School in Maricopa County Court.

She claims the school board ignored her complaints about the swastika in the hall, along with a photo of a lever used to drop chemicals into gas chambers, and the words "Majdanek Bad Und Desinfektion"-referring to the "bath and disinfection" gas chamber at the Majdanek concentration camp.

McNeil claims the school's conduct was "extreme and outrageous" and that it "either intended to cause emotional distress or recklessly disregarded the near certainty that such distress would result from the conduct."

She claims that the school "ratified or ignored" the distressing Nazi exhibit "as follows: Knowing that plaintiff was a black, Jewish female, one of the teachers decided to put a Holocaust exhibit at the school. He chose the hallway of plaintiff's office despite there being several other options. The first thing that was painted on the wall was large swastika. Plaintiff complained to the co-principal as well as to board members and the superintendent about this project and continued to complain as the 'project' developed. When all was said and done, order for plaintiff to get into her office and around the school, she had to go through doorway. Her door was painted black with a white peephole. To the right of her office was a picture of a lever that was what was used to put chemicals in the gas chamber in Germany that killed thousands of Jewish people. Over the door of her office were the words 'Majdanek Bad Und Desinfektion' which was a concentration camp gas chamber. Directly over her door was the German word for women.

"Plaintiff was forced to go into the gas chamber in order to go into her office. This extreme and outrageous conduct resulted in severe emotional distress that to this day impacts plaintiff's ability to earn a living."

McNeil claims the school treated her differently because of her race and religion. She says her "contracted pay amount was well below comparable administrators in the same school and her peers, the defendant refused to pay for tuition reimbursement while providing funding for other administrators, the defendant refused to pay for conferences while paying for other administrators resulting in out of pocket costs and humiliation, other administrators circumvented her decisions as to other employees, defendant failed to include her in board meetings despite other administrators being included, open meeting laws were violated as it related to discussions about plaintiff or related matters, there were denials of requested meetings to discuss plaintiff's duties, defendant refused to provide basic supplies to plaintiff such as a phone and business cards while supplying these items for others, her employment contracts were provided late in time, plaintiff's mail was opened by others in the school, the defendant failed to address the hostile work environment as well as ratified the hostility, embarrassing and humiliating her in front of parents and students, and failed to respond to her complaints about other administrators and employees."

McNeil says she was fired on May 13, 2011, but "effectively" fired on March 10, 2011, before the end of her contract.

McNeil seeks $750,000 in general and compensatory damages, and $1.25 million in punitive damages, for breach of contract, wrongful termination, and negligent supervision, among other claims. She is represented by Lisa Aubuchon of Tempe.

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