Ex-assistant principal can go forward with religious bias lawsuit

NEW YORK (JTA) — A Jewish assistant principal can proceed with a lawsuit against New York’s Department of Education for anti-Semitic remarks directed against him by his superior.

A U.S. District Court judge in Manhattan in a 25-page order ruled that the hostile work environment and religious discrimination lawsuit filed by Peter Weiss can advance. He is seeking back pay since 2008 and emotional damages. Weiss is now working as a substitute teacher and has taken a substantial pay cut.

Weiss, who was an assistant principal at the School for Community Research and Learning in the Bronx, claims that school principal William Mulqueen repeatedly called him a “pork-eating Jew” and complained about Jewish teachers’ “mannerisms” after he was hired in 2004, according to the New York Daily News.

Mulqueen also made several references to Weiss “having more money than God” and refused to pay him overtime after he became religiously observant during the 2007-08 school year, Weiss alleges. The principal eventually gave Weiss an “unsatisfactory” report, causing Weiss to leave the school. Mulqueen left the Department of Education in 2010.

Weiss’ lawyer told the New York Daily News that he hopes Weiss and the Department of Education will reach a reasonable settlement at a hearing later this month.

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