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Article updated: 5/8/2013 3:37 PM

District 207 settles former orchestra teacher's lawsuit

By Madhu Krishnamurthy

Maine Township High School District 207 has reached a deal with a former Maine West High School orchestra teacher to drop his federal lawsuit against the school board claiming he was fired because of his gender.

Without admitting to any wrongdoing, the district will pay $10,000 to Andrew Ladendorf for agreeing to dismiss the lawsuit, per the settlement agreement approved by the school board this week and obtained through a Freedom of Information request.

Ladendorf originally sought a jury trial, and unspecified compensatory and punitive damages through the June 2012 lawsuit.

District 207 spokesman Dave Beery confirmed Wednesday that the lawsuit has been dropped by agreement of both parties. He declined to make any other statements about the settlement.

"In this case, we'll let the settlement statement stand on its own," he said. "The payment is made directly to Mr. (Joel) Handler," who is Ladendorf's attorney, he added.

Ladendorf alleged in the suit that District 207 employees hurt his chances of getting a job with another school district after he was fired from his Maine West post in 2011.

According to the settlement agreement, Ladendorf will not seek future employment with District 207, and the district will not "disparage or defame" him to prospective employers.

Beery said Ladendorf would have received "whatever was owed to him contractually" with respect to his wages and benefits at the time of dismissal.

Ladendorf was hired by District 207 in June 2008 to work in the Des Plaines school's Fine Arts and Music Department. The charges in the suit don't offer details of specific actions taken against Ladendorf by the school's administration or district leaders before his firing.

The suit alleged that starting in February 2011 the district "engaged in a pattern and practice of sex discrimination against Ladendorf and other male employees" and that the gender discrimination was apparent in the performance reviews Ladendorf received since that time.

In July 2011, Ladendorf filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, according to the suit. Handler said Wednesday "the entire matter is resolved."

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