3rd plaintiff joins age discrimination lawsuit against VB Schools

A third plaintiff has signed on to a class action lawsuit claiming that Virginia Beach Schools discriminated against them when it filled IT positions.

UPDATE (Dec. 13, 2017): Read Virginia Beach Public Schools’ response to the lawsuit


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – A third plaintiff has signed on to a class action lawsuit claiming that Virginia Beach Schools discriminated against them when it filled IT positions.

Marie Gerdes has joined Joseph Andreana and Margaret Marcotte in the lawsuit filed in US District Court in Norfolk.They were among 99 people who applied in March 2015 for the positions. 74 were initially hired.

“I had been doing (the work) for eight years, and I had all the qualifications that they required,” Gerdes said. “I was shocked (when she wasn’t hired)”.

Gerdes was 64 when she applied.

She’s now part of this class action lawsuit that claims that Virginia Beach schools “engaged in a pattern and practice of age discrimination.”

According to the lawsuit, about a third of those candidates who got the IT positions had lesser credentials than the plaintiffs. Of the 74 who were selected, the lawsuit points to 23 of those in particular to try to make its case.

Their average profile of that subset of successful candidates was age 34, about nine and a half years of overall tech experience, and three and half years experience at the level of Computer Resource Specialist (CRS) with the school system.

Two of the three plaintiffs show a sharp contrast. Andreana was 51 with 24 years in the industry, 16 as a CRS. Marcotte was 45, with 19 years tech experience and 11 as a CRS.

Read the official complaint

A spokesperson for Virginia Beach City Public Schools said the administration has no comment because of the pending litigation. In court documents, the system denies the charges of violating the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

It’s estimated that as many as 19 other individuals who weren’t promoted would qualify to join the class action. Gerdes says the positions pay about $60,000 a year on average.