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NYC school principal sued for threatening Orthodox Jewish staffer


An occupational therapist at a Brooklyn elementary is suing the principal, charging she has targeted the school veteran because she’s an Orthodox Jew.


In the lawsuit filed in Brooklyn Supreme Court, Ilene Klass says Sungmin Yoo, the principal of PS 312, has maliciously written her up for planning her work schedule around religious holidays.


Klass is the only staffer at the Avenue T school who is an Orthodox Jew.


On at least four occasions, Klass was subjected to “clear examples of egregious religious discrimination,” the suit charges.

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The lawsuit charges, for example, that Yoo purposely changed Klass’s daily work hours, which included extending Fridays about an hour, to 3:25 p.m.


Leaving at a later hour on Fridays in the winter would interrupt Klass from getting home before sunset for Shabbos observance, the suit noted.


But Yoo told her if she left early, she’d be written up for professional misconduct or theft of services, according to the suit.


The lawsuit names Yoo, the city and Department of Education (DOE) as defendants.

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Klass charges that Yoo’s threats are an attempt to damage her reputation, cause emotional distress, and created a hostile work environment.


“We look forward to Ms. Klass having her day in court, we don’t believe anyone should be treated like this and people’s religious belief should be respected as the law intends,” said Joseph Aron, Klass’s lawyer.


The city filed a motion to be removed from the discrimination lawsuit, but were denied, according to court records.


Request for comment from the DOE on the pending litigation were referred to the city’s law department. The city did not return a request for comment.

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