Samuel Mark Isley serves as the human resources director for Limestone County Schools in Alabama, but was recently played on administrative leave with pay. Isley has now filed a lawsuit against the district, claiming his leave was retaliation for his reporting to state officials that the school board for the district was hiring teachers who did not have the proper certifications, which jeopardized district funding.
The interim superintendent for the district, Mike Owens, has already said he will recommend Isley be fired at the board’s meeting in March. The district has yet to release any public statement about why Isley was put on leave, and Isley claims he and his lawyer have not been informed of the reason privately, either. The district has only stated Isley is under investigation, but has not provided any elaboration.
In Isley’s lawsuit, he alleges libel, slander, negligence, wantonness, intentional infliction of emotional distress and conspiracy. Isley also states in the lawsuit that as a whistleblower he is protected by federal laws that shield whistleblowers from retaliation. He is currently participating in FBI and Department of Education investigations into the Limestone County Board of Education’s actions.
In addition to the charges that the district hired unqualified teachers, Isley claims when he hired black employees to the school board, the board president objected and used a racial slur to refer to them. Isley says he then reported this conversation to another board member, who denies having such a conversation.
Discriminatory practices based on race during hiring are strictly illegal under federal law, and wrongful termination of whistleblowers who have engaged in protected actions is also illegal. For more information about how you can protect your rights as a whistleblower when speaking up about wrongdoing, contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group today