LOS ANGELES – A former custodian who sued a charter school management organization, alleging he was sexually harassed by his boss and ordered to perform personal tasks for her, has reached a settlement in his case.
Virgil Patterson’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit against the Inner City Education Foundation and his ex-supervisor, Debra Price-Madere, included allegations of wrongful termination, retaliation, sexual harassment, gender violence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and various civil rights and state Labor Code violations.
Patterson’s attorneys filed court papers on Monday with Judge Stephanie M. Bowick stating that the case was resolved, but no terms were divulged. The judge canceled the July 16 scheduled trial date in the wake of the settlement.
ICEF operates seven charter schools and was one of the first charter school management organizations in Los Angeles. In their court papers, ICEF attorneys denied Patterson’s allegations and said that any damages he may have suffered were the results of his own conduct.
According to the suit, Patterson worked at View Park Middle School and was hired by ICEF in June 2012 as a custodian. He alleged he was told to do other tasks beyond janitorial work, including construction and demolition of ICEF property, rodent extermination and mold remediation, even though he had no training in those areas.
Patterson was not given any personal protective equipment, became sick and went on a medical leave, the suit filed in December 2021 stated.
In addition, Price-Madere ordered Patterson to pick up her dry cleaning, run errands for her, set rat traps for her, pick up items from her home and move furniture at her home, according to the suit. She additionally directed Patterson to deliver money to her daughter and assist her son with his car engine problems, the suit stated.
Patterson also was sexually harassed by Price-Madere, who allegedly said she had sexual dreams about him, and he was not paid for any of the additional tasks he performed beyond custodial work, the suit alleges.
Even though Patterson does not have a teaching credential, he was told to instruct middle school students in a gang intervention class as a condition of his employment, the suit alleged.
Other non-custodial duties Patterson was told to perform included attending parent/student conferences, speaking to parents as a liaison between staff and parents, mentoring and counseling troubled students, breaking up student fights and performing security at basketball and football games, according to the suit.