School district employee's lawsuit seeks $1.5 million

Ocean View employee claims she was coerced to resign and was hassled because of her age, sexual orientation.

September 07, 2011|By Michael Miller

An Ocean View School District employee has filed a lawsuit against the superintendent and board of trustees claiming they pressured her to resign and harassed her because of her age and sexual orientation.

Holly Marvin, 49, a communications supervisor for Ocean View, filed the lawsuit Aug. 19 and is seeking $1.5 million in damages. In addition to the school board — specifically naming Trustees Debbie Cotton and Tracy Pellman — and Supt. William V. Loose as defendants.

According to her attorney, Betsy A. Stansell, the district broke an agreement to let Marvin move to Maryland, where her wife got a job with the Department of Homeland Security, and do her job with Ocean View electronically on alternate weeks.


The district approved the arrangement in 2010 under previous Supt. Alan Rasmussen, but reneged on it after Loose took office early this year, Stansell said.

In addition, the lawsuit claims the district mistreated Marvin and other employees over the age of 40 in an effort to force them to retire or resign; that it humiliated Marvin by moving her to a small office in the district's copy and mailroom; and that Loose, on one occasion, hung his swim trunks with the crotch side out on his car's side-view mirror next to Marvin's vehicle.

The action was intended as a dig at Marvin's sexual orientation, Stansell said.

"They're trying to get rid of her," she said. "They're trying to make her leave her job after 23 years."

Attorney Daniel Spradlin, representing the district, declined to comment on specific accusations but said the district did not treat Marvin in a discriminatory manner. He noted that he had read a previous claim filed by Marvin but had not yet seen the lawsuit.

"I will say this: that she's a valued employee," Spradlin said. "The school district strives to treat all employees, including Ms. Marvin, fairly. I think there are occasional differences of opinion in times of tight budgets in terms of what's possible and what's not, and various issues that come up from time to time."

Loose declined comment, calling the issue with Marvin a personnel matter.

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