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Date: 01-20-2023

Case Style:

Jawanda Dove v. Flagler County School Board

Case Number: 3:20-CV-547

Judge: Marcia Morales Howard

Court: United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida (Broward County)

Plaintiff's Attorney:

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Defendant's Attorney: Dylan Hall and Lisa J. Augsperger

Description: Jacksonville, Florida civil rights lawyer represented Plaintiff who sued Defendant on an employment discrimination theory.

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The Flagler County School Board (School Board) has employed Dove, who is African American, as an instructional educator since 2006. See Affidavit in Support of Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and Supporting Memorandum of Law, filed April 29, 2022. Between June 8, 2018, and August 27, 2018, Dove applied for three leadership positions but was not selected. See id. From May 30, 2019, through September 12, 2019, Dove applied for seven other leadership positions but also was not selected. Dove maintains that the School Board chose “less qualified Caucasian candidates” for all of the positions.

The School Board has a process for filling employment vacancies. Affidavit in Support of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and Supporting Memorandum of Law (Johnson Aff.) at 22. For each employment vacancy, the School Board forms a hiring committee that interviews “all qualified applicants.” Id. at 22-23. The School Board hires the candidate “recommended by the committee as the best qualified.” According to the School Board's Chief Human Resources Officer Jewel Johnson, the School Board “abides by equal employment opportunity procedures for its personnel” and has a written policy forbidding discrimination in its employment practices. Id.; Motion at 27-28, Ex. B. Johnson further notes that the School Board employs African American individuals in leadership positions “similar or more prestigious than the subject positions that Ms. Dove applied for.” With respect to seven of the positions at issue, Johnson maintains that the hiring committee did not recommend Dove because “Dove was not the best qualified candidate out of all applicants.” For an eighth position, Curriculum Specialist ID: 190906001, Johnson avers that Dove did not meet the minimum qualifications for the position because Dove formatted her application in such a way that it did not show certain credentials required for the position. See id. Dove asserts that Johnson's statement about the Curriculum Specialist application is “not true.”

Dove filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on December 18, 2019, in which she asserted that the School Board denied her “promotional opportunities because of [her] race and color and in retaliation for filing a previous charge with the EEOC in 2014.” Motion at 30, Ex. C: Charge of Discrimination (EEOC Charge). She initiated this action on June 30, 2020, by filing her Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial (Doc. 1). With leave of Court, Dove filed the currently operative complaint on July 29, 2022. See Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint for Damages (Doc. 9; Complaint). In the Complaint, Dove alleges that the School Board discriminated against her because of her race and national origin in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 (FCRA), Fla. Stat. § 760.01 et seq. See Complaint ¶ 11. Specifically, in Count I, Dove asserts that the School Board violated Title VII by failing to promote her on eighteen occasions because of discrimination. Id. ¶¶ 17, 20-22. And, in Count II, Dove alleges that the School Board “willfully, knowingly and intentionally violated the State's explicit Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action Law,” Fla. Stat. § 110.112, and the Florida Educational Equity Act (FEEA), id. § 1000.05. Complaint ¶¶ 25-26. Dove also maintains that the School Board “selected and promoted four (4) Caucasian colleagues to Assistant Principal positions,” instead of selecting Dove who “had more years of experience and more educational accomplishments.” Id. ¶ 27.

Outcome: 02/23/2023 79 Minute Entry. In Person Proceedings held before Magistrate Judge Monte C. Richardson: SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE held on 2/23/2023. (Digital) (SHS) (Entered: 02/23/2023)
02/23/2023 80 NOTICE of hearing: Settlement Conference set for 3/9/2023 at 10:00 AM in Jacksonville Courtroom 5 C before Magistrate Judge Monte C. Richardson (SHS) (Entered: 02/23/2023)

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