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    San Juan Unified schools superintendent Glynn Thompson is facing allegations that he has created a hostile work environment for some of the district's female administrators.

  • The Public Eye

The Public Eye: San Juan trustees will revisit complaints about superintendent

Published: Sunday, May. 12, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Sunday, May. 12, 2013 - 8:12 am

The San Juan Unified school board on Tuesday will privately discuss employee complaints that Superintendent Glynn Thompson created a hostile work environment for some female administrators, according to district officials.

The issue – listed as "public employee discipline/dismissal/release" – will be considered in a 5 p.m. closed session at the district office.

The school board already agreed Wednesday to investigate nine complaints that former and current district employees filed recently with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

The complaints all revolve around harsh treatment by Thompson, according to attorney Robert Biegler, who represents the women.

The Bee obtained two of the complaints with names redacted last week from the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

One woman said she was the subject of a campaign of harassment because of her gender. She was a member of the superintendent's Cabinet with a contract through May 2014, according to her complaint.

The woman said she endured a "hostile work environment" as at least one official tried to pressure her to leave her job.

A confidential conversation she had with the school board president in November resulted in retaliation that included her removal from the Cabinet and an attempt to demote her to a custodian, she said.

The woman's supervisor told her the superintendent wanted her to leave within 30 days, but that the supervisor would give her 90 days to find a new job, according to the complaint.

The superintendent also came into "a meeting that I was expected to attend and put his arm around me, which made me extremely uncomfortable," wrote the woman. "Ultimately, I was forced to resign."

The woman who filed the second complaint obtained by The Bee indicates that she is prepared to sue because she was denied promotions in 2009 and 2012.

She was passed over for promotion the first time despite having excellent evaluations and being the most senior employee in her classification, according to the complaint. In 2012, she was passed over again, she said.

"I am committed that this investigation be fair and impartial," Thompson said in an email to The Bee on Saturday. "Unfortunately, that means that it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the specifics of the allegations."

Thompson became interim superintendent of the 47,116-student district in May 2011 and superintendent in April 2012. His salary when hired was $225,000.

Thompson said he focuses on collaboration and mutual respect in the workplace.

"I realize I have never been the typical educational leader who was often obsessed with who likes him or what others are saying," Thompson wrote in his email. "I am more concerned with results and using our limited public funds strategically. … I firmly believe that our work is too important to let mediocrity or the status quo stand. I hold myself and all of my staff to high standards and will continue to do so for our students and families of San Juan."

At least four of the nine women who filed complaints are considering suing the district, Biegler said. Filing a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing is generally a precursor to a lawsuit.

Some in the audience at Wednesday's board meeting were angry that the board did not put Thompson on administrative leave immediately as requested by a number of speakers.

The board could not consider that request Wednesday because it is required to state on a public agenda that it may consider such action, said district spokesman Trent Allen on Friday. He said employees must also receive 24 hours' notice before any personnel action is considered.

"This was the first time (board members) saw the complaints," Allen said.

Call The Bee's Diana Lambert, (916) 321-1090. Read her Report Card blog at

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