A Hackensack teacher has filed a lawsuit claiming she was denied 18 requested promotions because of her age and then retaliated against because she filed a complaint over the alleged discrimination.
Mercedes Abreu Haines, 61, was moved from her role as assistant principal of the Jackson Avenue School to kindergarten teacher due to layoffs in 2011, according to the lawsuit, filed in New Jersey Superior Court this week.
Haines' previous position was then filled by a younger, less qualified candidate, the suit says.
Haines filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and as consequentially was denied her 18 requested promotions between 2011 and 2019, she said.
Each time, the position was filled by someone younger and less qualified, according to the lawsuit.
Haines filed the suit against the Hackensack Board of Education and nearly 25 people listed only as John Does.
Hackensack Schools Superintendent Rosemary Marks did not immediately return Daily Voice's request for comment in an email Thursday afternoon.
Haines in 2017 was nominated for the "LifeChanger of the Year" award.
"Every year, students enter her classroom without knowing how to speak English, and she helps them transition by strengthening their oral language and vocabulary skills," the nomination said.
"Students love her energy. She offers hugs, praises and a smile to those students who are acclimating to a new environment, and she treats them all with respect. Parents and students see her in the hallways, stores and within the community and just want to hug her.
"She makes each one feel special and successful."
The suit says that Haines is "massively overqualified" for her current position.
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