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St. Louis Public Schools found liable for gender discrimination against guidance counselor

The jury awarded Spivey $940,000 in compensatory damages for lost wages and benefits, plus over $5 million in punitive damages.

Published: July 1, 2023 5:28pm

A jury on Friday found St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS) liable for gender discrimination and retaliation against a former guidance counselor. 

The jury ruled unanimously in favor of former high school counselor Ron Spivey over the St. Louis Public School District and his former supervisor, Dr. ChanTam Trinh, who was the assistant principal at Soldan International Studies High School when Spivey was fired. 

Court documents show that Spivey alleged that when Dr. Trinh began supervising the counseling department in the 2013-2014 school year, she started to "nitpick" his performance at work, give him negative reviews and place him on performance improvement plans, according to KMOV4.

Spivey argued that his female colleagues did not receive the same treatment from the former guidance counselor. 

Spivey also alleged that the performance improvement plans were very vague on how he could improve and that he was intentionally being set up to fail.

The jury awarded Spivey $940,000 in compensatory damages for lost wages and benefits. Also, the jury found that SLPS's conduct had been "outrageous" and had shown “reckless indifference to the rights of others,” and added an additional $5.2 million in punitive damages against the school district.

The school district told News 4 that they "are disappointed with the verdict that was reached and are exploring our options for an appeal.”

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