HAMMOND | A former elementary school principal is suing Portage Township Schools, claiming she was fired so the district could replace her with a younger man.
Former Crisman Elementary School Principal Linda Kuss filed the lawsuit earlier this week in U.S. District Court in Hammond.
Kuss claims she lost her principal's position while on medical leave, recuperating from a shoulder injury suffered at work in 2008 and a spinal injury from another fall in a store parking lot in 2009.
In 2010, she was diagnosed with diverticulitis, an intestinal disease, and had planned to return to work on April 5, 2010, according to the lawsuit. However, her medical condition kept her from returning to work until Jan. 3, 2011, according to the lawsuit.
On April 1, 2010, the 20-year principal was replaced by Scott Hufford, who took over as interim Crisman Elementary principal. Hufford previously had served as Fegley Middle School assistant principal.
Kuss claims she was denied a request to be appointed Fegley principal for the retiring Philip Misecko.
Upon her return to work, Kuss was placed in an administrator's’s position with the Portage Adult Education Center that, she alleges, the school district knew was intended for elimination and required longer hours of work with less pay. Kuss contends she was denied requests for other administrative positions within Portage Schools.
On Jan. 1, 2011, Kuss’ employment was terminated, according to her lawsuit.
Kuss is seeking relief, claiming she was terminated because of her age and gender and that she had sought leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. She is seeking back pay, reinstatement and/or future pay.
Dr. E. Ric Frataccia, Portage Township Schools assistant superintendent, declined comment on the lawsuit Thursday.