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Woman settles discrimination suit against Southland ‘celebrity’ school


Alleged wrongful  termination because of race

A former administrative assistant for a private school attended over the years by the children of many celebrities has settled her lawsuit against her former employer in which she alleged she was wrongfully fired in 2022 because she is Black, female and had health problems.

Attorneys for plaintiff Christina McCrary filed court papers on May 24 with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William F. Fahey stating that her case against Wildwood School was resolved the day before. No terms were divulged.

Some of Steven Spielberg's, two of Dustin Hoffman's and all of Demi Moore's children went to Wildwood School, as did Rob Reiner's children and a daughter of Meryl Streep. The kindergarten through 12th grade school has a campus for elementary students near the Los Angeles-Culver City border and a second for upper and middle school pupils in West Los Angeles.

McCrary alleged wrongful termination, race, gender and medical discrimination, disparate impact race discrimination, retaliation and failure to prevent discrimination, harassment and retaliation, but school attorneys stated in their court papers that McCrary was fired for a poor job showing.

“Since her hiring, plaintiff repeatedly delivered unsatisfactory performance,'' the defense lawyers maintained in their court papers. “Plaintiff's continuous errors created additional work for her supervisors, added undue stress on colleagues and embarrassed Wildwood.''

McCrary was hired as an administrative assistant to middle and upper directors in March 2019 and was one of the few Blacks in the ranks of more than 100 Wildwood School staff members, according to her suit brought last Aug. 2.

McCrary was put on a job performance improvement plan in March and given three areas of work on which she needed to do better, the suit stated. She was allowed 30 days to improve her performance and was able to correct the issues long before the allotted time expired, the suit stated.

However, Wildwood School still micromanaged McCrary for simple tasks and deliberately found areas to criticize her work, the suit states. Trying to force her out of her job, the school ove-rassigned her tasks and gave her unrealistic times to complete them, according to her suit.

There were weekly meetings between McCrary and two supervisors that ostensibly were held to improve her job performance, but were actually conducted to ``create an inaccurate record of events and set plaintiff up for failure and ultimately termination,'' the suit stated.

McCrary took time off in mid-June that was previously authorized so she could have surgery, but when she returned last July 5 she was fired, according to the suit. She refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement offered to her in exchange for a two-week severance package, the suit stated.

McCrary believes she was fired because of her race, health and gender and that the school retained other employees who were not in a protected class and had job performances equal to or worse than the plaintiff, the suit stated.

McCrary also contends that other Black Wildwood School employees were unjustifiably fired and that some students have complained about racism and a lack of diversity at Wildwood School, the suit stated.