Katy ISD denies it terminated para-professional because of nationality, religion

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Mar. 14, 2013, 1:16pm

HOUSTON - An original answer was entered into a 2012 wrongful termination lawsuit against a Harris County school district, recent court records show. 

The Katy Independent School District submitted its rebuttal a month ago to former para-professional Azma Naseer Qazi's allegations she was fired because of her nationality and religion.

Qazi is a Pakistani of the Islamic faith who worked as a teacher's aide in the defendant's special education classes at Hutsell Elementary School.

In Qazi's original petition that was filed last Sept. 17, the plaintiff explains that a majority of the supposed mistreatment she experienced was attributed to a female Hispanic colleague.

The co-worker reportedly made derogatory comments about Qazi's nationality and religion as well as removed her personal belongings from her cubicle and placed them on the floor for no apparent reason prior to an extermination appointment, according to the suit.

It additionally recalls an incident in which a language problem resulted in Qazi being disciplined for coming to work some 30 minutes late.

Qazi insists her grievances were never resolved, and the school district dismissed her in early June 2011.

KISD asserts it knew nothing about the purported harassment Qazi underwent and that the plaintiff and the presumed co-worker used to be friends before "they apparently had a falling out for some unknown reason."

The school district adds the pest extermination incident did not occur because of the conflict between the complainant and her colleague, stating the latter moved the aforementioned belongings not "to single her out in any way."

It counters Qazi's claim that a language problem caused her to be about half an hour late to work.

Qazi insisted she was "a little late at 8 a.m.", however, the defendant's response reports Hutsell's principal saw her on the premises at 8:17 a.m.

Qazi received "an objective summary" of her performance before the end of the 2011-2012 school year, the school district says.

KISD ultimately denies it discriminated against the complainant because she is Pakistani and Muslim.

Attorney Christopher B. Gilbert of Thompson & Horton LLP in Houston is representing the respondent.

Case No. 4:12-CV-2771

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