A former San Juan Unified administrator has become the first to file a tort claim with the school district alleging that a superintendent currently on administrative leave subjected her to harassment, bullying and emotional distress.
Tracy Tomasky, who served nine years as the districts director of early childhood education and was a past president of the San Juan Administrators Association, complained in the August filing that Superintendent Glynn Thompson humiliated her publicly before the San Juan school board and on other public occasions. She said in the filing that he also ordered other administrators to harass her to force her resignation after nearly 18 years as an administrator with the district.
Thompson was placed on administrative leave in mid-May while an investigation went forward about whether he created a hostile working environment for some female administrators. The investigation is expected to conclude in the coming weeks with a report to board members in October.
A Bee email requesting comment about the tort claim was delivered to Thompson midday Monday. He did not immediately respond.
The tort claim, in this instance, is a required preamble to a lawsuit that could be filed in Sacramento Superior Court. In the interim, it will be turned over to the districts insurance pool, the Schools Insurance Authority, for any action, district officials say.
Tomasky left the district Feb. 15, 2013, and became one of 13 people who later filed documents with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing preserving their right to sue.
Leaving that (early childhood education) department that I loved working in for so many years and having him target it was extremely stressful, extremely difficult, Tomasky said in an interview. I had a life plan going forward. I was committed to that department, serving children and families. And having it ripped out from under me like that was, and is, devastating.
Bob Biegler, an employment attorney in private practice in Sacramento, filed the document on Tomaskys behalf on Aug. 8. She and eight other women all his clients have filed right-to-sue documents with the state. But Tomaskys added complaint of defamation and emotional distress required the tort claim to be filed as well within six months of her departure.
Biegler said that most of his nine clients still are employed by the district. They are waiting to learn the outcome of the investigation by an area law firm under contract with the district.
We take it as a very serious matter whenever you have this many women in our particular case, Biegler said in an interview. He added thats especially true anytime you have this many individuals who are hugely successful and in important positions within any entity and are all making the same type of claim.
Tomaskys tort claim said that Thompsons conduct included angry, ill-tempered, violent outbursts against her without provocation. It said that she complained to the district board on Feb. 29, 2012, and, informally, on several other occasions, but no substantive corrective action was taken.
Instead, Tomasky was subjected to retaliatory conduct which included ... defamation of her character, the document said. It said that included the superintendent telling members of the district cabinet that they needed to get rid of Tomasky as she was a liar, not credible, incompetent and mentally unstable.
Trent Allen, district spokesman, said the Board of Education and district staff remain focused on meeting the needs of our students and families while a thorough independent investigation of these concerns is conducted.