The Port Arthur Independent School District is asserting a defense of sovereign immunity from a suit brought by an educator alleging the district refused to renew her contract satisfactorily.

Tanuya Worthy filed a lawsuit March 24 in Jefferson County District Court against PAISD alleging employment discrimination.

Court records show that on July 24 PAISD answered the suit, asserting a general denial and arguing that Worthy failed to exhaust her administrative remedies before filing suit.

The district is asking Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, to dismiss her claims.

According to the original complaint, Worthy serves as one of four assistant principals at Jefferson Middle School and was hired primarily as assistant athletic director, and her position as assistant principal is secondary and understood to be on an as-needed basis.

The suit states Worthy successfully improved the girls’ athletics programs at Jefferson after accepting the PAISD’s initial employment offer.

During the second year of her contract, according to the lawsuit, she was told in July 2014 she would be reassigned for the following school year under conditions that did not match those of her original contract, specifically, job duties and salary.

The complaint alleges Worthy was systematically and wrongfully demoted. The case is still in front of the commissioner of education for Texas, Michael Williams.

The plaintiff seeks to resolve the grievance procedure with this petition.

Worthy asks the court to reverse the commission’s decision and reinstate her former salary.

She is represented by attorney Larry Watts of Missouri City.

PAISD is represented by Melody Chappell, attorney for the Wells, Peyton, Greenberg & Hunt law firm in Beaumont.

Jefferson County District Court case number: E-196876

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