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Appeals court rules Hempstead school district discrimination lawsuit can go on

Carlos Vega, a district teacher for 24 years,

Carlos Vega, a district teacher for 24 years, alleged that he was given more Spanish-speaking students than other teachers and a classroom with a "University of Puerto Rico" banner over the door, and got bad evaluations after complaining to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

A federal appeals court on Wednesday reinstated a suit against the Hempstead school district filed by a Hispanic math teacher who claimed he faced discriminatory treatment and then retaliation when he objected to his treatment.

Carlos Vega, a district teacher for 24 years, alleged that he was given more Spanish-speaking students than other teachers and a classroom with a "University of Puerto Rico" banner over the door, and got bad evaluations after complaining to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

U.S. District Judge Sandra Feuerstein in Central Islip dismissed the suit last year, concluding that Vega had waited too long to file his case and that his complaint didn't adequately allege facts showing that he was punished due to his ethnicity.

But the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed. It said that at least on its face, Vega's claim that he faced an increased workload due to a disproportionate number of Spanish-speaking students was "plausibly" connected to his Hispanic background.

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