Former Bus Driver Can Proceed with an Age Discrimination Lawsuit

A federal court determined that a former Dallas ISD bus driver can proceed with her age discrimination lawsuit. The bus driver, representing herself, sued the district after it terminated her for alleged incidents of misconduct.

According to the district, the bus driver confronted a student and the student’s mother, on October 21, 2021, when the student attempted to board a district school bus while not wearing a COVID-19 face mask properly. The driver allegedly moved her hand to stop the student from boarding, which caused the student to stumble down the stairs and off the bus. The district also alleged that the woman engaged in a verbal altercation with a parent and closed the door in front of the parent while driving away with the bus’s back door still open and unsecured for approximately three minutes. The bus driver also allegedly refused to transport students back to school after a football game, stating that the students were not wearing masks.

The lawsuit brought claims for retaliation under the Texas Whistleblower Act (TWA), age-based discrimination and retaliation under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), race-based discrimination and retaliation under Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code (the “Texas Commission on Human Rights Act” or TCHRA), and race-based discrimination and retaliation under Title VII. The district sought dismissal of all but the age discrimination claims.

The court dismissed the TCHRA claims for the failure to exhaust her administrative remedies, which required her to file a timely complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The court also dismissed the woman’s Title VII, TCHRA, and ADEA retaliation claims for failure to exhaust administrative remedies and for failure to state a claim. Her charge of discrimination did not identify or imply any protected activity that she engaged in prior to her termination or other retaliation. And she does not mention her internal reports prior to her termination that serve as the basis for retaliation claims. She also failed to state enough facts to raise plausible claims for race discrimination or whistleblower violations. The court dismissed all of the woman’s claims, except those based on age discrimination. The case is Nedd v. Dallas ISD, No. 3:22-CV-02322-K-BT, 2024 WL 947440 (N.D. Tex. Mar. 5, 2024).

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