Private NYC High School Sued for Age Discrimination

A private high school in New York City is being sued by one of its music teachers who claims it has discriminated against him based on his age and retaliated against him when he took action to address its treatment of him.

Vincent Scialla has been a music teacher at the Little Red School House in Manhattan since 1997, according to the complaint. Scialla, who is 46 years old, claims he has proved himself to be “a hardworking, dedicated, and professional employee.” 

Scialla was tenured in 2007 and held the title of music director from 1997 until 2013, according to the complaint. Scialla claims that, in 2013, after turning 40, he began to experience increasing instances of age discrimination.

Twice he was placed under contractual tenure review in a way that breached the contract between the school and the teachers’ union, according to the complaint. Both times the tenure review was discontinued after he filed grievances with the union.

In May 2014, Scialla claims he was asked by a school official to stop using the term “music director” and simply refer to himself as a music teacher. In addition, several “unfounded disciplinary letters and threats of suspension” were issued against him.

Scialla also claims that he was denied a summer travel grant for the educational study of music, his high school ensemble was removed from participating in the school’s graduation ceremony while a younger music teacher was able to participate with a different ensemble, and denied an educational leave request.

Similarly situated younger teachers did not suffer similar treatment as Scialla, according to the complaint. He claims he has been forced to “endure a hostile work environment, discrimination, and retaliation because of his age.”

The school’s actions included, “(a) harassing [Scialla] due to his age; (b) denying [him] the correct benefits and professional development opportunities granted to younger employees; (c) disallowing [him] to use the title ‘Music Director’ which he had held for many years; and (d) filing frivolous tenure review applications and issuing frivolous disciplinary notices.”

Scialla is represented by Ariadne Panagopoulou of New York City who filed the action in the Southern District Court of New York.

 Image Source: Elvis Cadillac