The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark (“RCAN”) and St. Joseph’s Regional High School (“SJR”) are greatly disturbed by the lawsuit recently filed in federal court by former teacher Jacob Rabinowitz.
Just months after joining SJR in September 2017, Mr. Rabinowitz became the subject of numerous student and parent complaints, and two negative performance evaluations. In February 2018, recognizing his job may be in jeopardy, Mr. Rabinowitz asked SJR administration if he should make alternate plans for the 2018-19 school year. Six weeks later, for the very first time, he informed SJR administration about a small swastika carved into the chalkboard of his classroom, and allegedly anti-Semitic behavior of some students in his class. Despite multiple meetings and communications with his supervisors over the preceding months, Mr. Rabinowitz had never once mentioned these issues.
SJR responded immediately to Mr. Rabinowitz’ complaints. The swastika was removed and his complaints about student behavior were referred to the school disciplinarian. After an investigation, the students were all warned in no uncertain terms that anti-Semitic behavior is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and is not tolerated at SJR. Mr. Rabinowitz did not complain of any further incidents, suggesting that any offensive behavior had ceased.
Solely because of his performance deficiencies identified months earlier, Mr. Rabinowitz was notified on April 1, 2018 (in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement) that his contract would not be renewed for the 2018-19 school year. Mr. Rabinowitz was not the only teacher whose contract was not renewed. In August, Mr. Rabinowitz filed a religious discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Just two weeks later, the EEOC summarily dismissed his complaint, stating “the EEOC is unable to conclude that the information obtained establishes violations of the statutes.”
RCAN and SJR categorically deny all allegations of discrimination, retaliation, and hostile work environment that appear in this lawsuit, and consider the suit completely frivolous. They intend to vigorously defend against these horrific allegations and are confident they will be successful.