LOS ANGELES – A former administrative assistant for a private school attended over the years by the children of many celebrities sued her former employer Tuesday, alleging she was wrongfully fired because she is Black, female and had health problems.
Christina McCrary’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, filed against Wildwood School, alleges wrongful termination, race, gender and medical discrimination, disparate impact race discrimination, retaliation and failure to prevent discrimination, harassment and retaliation. She seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
There was no immediate response to an email sent to the school’s media representative after the close of usual business hours.
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.
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 states. She was allowed 30 days to improve her performance and was able to correct the issues long before the allotted time expired, the suit states.
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 overassigned her tasks and gave her unrealistic times to complete them, according to her suit.
Weekly meetings were held 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 states.
McCrary took time off in mid-June that was previously authorized so she could have surgery, but when she returned on July 5 she was fired, according to the suit. She refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement offered her in exchange for a two-week severance package, the suit states.
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 states.
McCrary also believes 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 states.
McCrary began having daily anxiety attacks and was involved in a traffic accident leaving work one day in early 2021, leaving her with post- traumatic stress disorder, the suit states. Her younger sister, allergic to the chemotherapy available for her stage 2 cancer, died within nine months and left behind a 2-year-old son who also is the plaintiff’s nephew, the suit states.
McCrary has suffered from embarrassment and additional emotional distress since her firing, the suit states.
Some of Steven Spielberg’s children, two of Dustin Hoffman’s offspring and all of Demi Moore’s brood 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.