Federal lawsuit alleges sexual harrasment

A Knox County teacher has filed suit against the Knox County Board of Education, alleging discrimination because of her disability and sex, and retaliation resulting in a hostile work environment after allegedly rejecting sexual advances.

On December 3, Melinda Abner, of London, filed a claim that beginning in or around 2014, her direct supervisor, Principal Anthony Pennington, repeatedly made inappropriate remarks and gestures toward her. She alleged that when she repeatedly rejected these actions, that Pennington behaved in a retaliatory way by threatening her job, monitoring her actions, assigning her difficult and disproportionate amounts of work, and refusing to provide reasonable accommodations required for her disabilities until September 2018.

Abner said she has conditions that meet the definition of “disability” under the Americans with Disabilities Act including: fibromyalgia, migraines, anxiety, and irritable bowel syndrome. Because of said conditions, she requested a quiet room to go to that is free of loud noises, to be late for work and leave work early as needed when she experienced symptoms of her disabilities, to be able to complete her work from home, to be excused from after-school activities; Abner also requested that she work without extreme temperatures, that she work close to an employee restroom.

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