As an educator, you have a right to enjoy equal protection against discrimination. However, your employer recently terminated you, and you believe this was an example of discrimination based on age. Can you bring charges against the school district? 

Basic rights for educators

Just as the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights gives educators academic freedom in the content or subjects they choose to teach, the First Amendment also gives them the right to freedom of speech. 

In addition, as a public school teacher, you have the right to pursue freedom of association, such as joining a union or a professional organization. You are only restricted in that such activities must remain separate from the responsibilities you undertake for the school. 

Discrimination protection 

Discrimination is another matter. The Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, specifically the Equal Protection Clause, provides public school teachers with protection from discrimination based on sex, race and national origin. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace. Both Title VII and the First Amendment prohibit school districts from exercising religious discrimination against teachers. 

However, at this point in your career as an educator, you are likely most interested in the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which protects teachers over 40 years of age. 

Fighting against age discrimination 

If you believe age was the sole factor in the decision to terminate your employment, you can bring a discrimination charge against the school district. It is then incumbent upon the school district to show that they based the decision to fire you on something other than your age. 

Teachers have rights that require protection, and termination that is discriminatory in nature should never go unchallenged. A legal professional can help you determine how to proceed.

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