Jeffco Public Schools settles dispute with JESPA over wrongful termination
Settlement comes days before scheduled trial date
GOLDEN, CO. – The Jefferson County Public School District reached a settlement with a former employee over his wrongful termination in 2019. The settlement, totaling $600,000, comes more than three years after the District terminated Casey Robinson, a former parts controller with the district. The settlement, negotiated by the Jeffco Education Support Professionals Association (JESPA) and the Colorado Education Association (CEA), was reached just days before the school district was due in court to face charges of breach of contract, retaliation, and wrongful discharge.
“The facts in this case speak for themselves and I think the district finally understood that,” said Lara Center, library paraprofessional and president of JESPA. “This should serve as a wake-up call to the district that mistreating employees could end badly. Management has the ability to treat employees with dignity and respect but often chooses not to. We will hold them accountable 100% of the time.”
The District terminated Robinson’s employment in April 2019, and JESPA filed a grievance shortly thereafter. The grievance ultimately went to arbitration, where the arbitrator ruled in favor of JESPA and Robinson. The School District’s Board of Education then voted 4-1 to reject the arbitrator’s decision. In 2020, JESPA and Robinson filed a lawsuit against the school district, as well as Chief Operations Officer Steve Bell, Executive Director of Transportation Greg Jackson, and Fleet Manager Michael Hinz. The trial was just days away when the parties reached a settlement.
“Our settlement with the school district shows the force of a strong union when we unite against wrongdoing,” says Casey Robinson. “Hopefully, in the future, the district will do the right thing because it’s right, not because they were held accountable.”
“Casey’s case exemplifies why employees join together in a union,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and president of the Colorado Education Association. “Unions ensure workers are treated fairly, valued and respected for their work. The CEA was proud to stand by Casey as we will always fight for workers and their rights.”