School and ex-worker agree to settlement
A former bookkeeper had accused a Catholic priest of gender discrimination
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reached a $100,000 settlement against a Catholic school yesterday on behalf of a former bookkeeper who was fired after she complained of discrimination by a priest and her supervisor.
The consent decree was reached with the commission and the Holy Family Catholic Academy after the commission determined Roxanne Castilliano was retaliated against after she complained of "derogatory comments" made by the Rev. Owen Mullen and Paul Bishay, her supervisor.
Castilliano alleged that the two men made derogatory comments of her national origin as a Filipina and gender in 2003. Comments were made about her looks and her culture, said Anna Y. Park, regional attorney for the commission's Los Angeles District Office.
When Castilliano complained through the school's chain of command, the commission said she was scrutinized for her work performance and terminated in February 2004. Castilliano worked at the school for 10 years before she was fired.
The real crux of the case was retaliation, Park said. The school failed to investigate the matter and did not have mechanisms in place to comply with Title VII, she added.
Mullen was a retired military chaplain when he served as administrator at Holy Family in 2003. He was not a member of the Honolulu Catholic Diocese.
In 2004, Mullen moved to California to serve as an associate minister for the University of San Diego, an institution he had earlier served at during the 1980s, according to an article in the University of San Diego Magazine and a university spokeswoman. Based on the University of San Diego Web site, Mullen currently serves as a university chaplain.
Mullen declined to comment on the settlement yesterday. Bishay could not be reached for comment.
Along with the $100,000 settlement, Holy Family Catholic Academy also has agreed to revise its policies and procedures to include development of a procedure for complaints of discrimination and retaliation, train staff on equal employment opportunity laws and reporting, and record-keeping required under the consent decree, according to the commission.
In a written statement, Vicar General Marc Alexander of the Honolulu diocese, said, "Holy Family does not admit Ms. Castilliano's allegations but has agreed to the terms of the consent decree to avoid further litigation expenses and to be able to direct its full resources to its mission of providing a quality Catholic education to its students. Holy Family intends to follow its current policy of nondiscrimination, which is in full compliance with all state and federal laws and regulations."
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Paul Bishay is not employed at Holy Family Academy. He resigned in January 2006. Originally, this article incorrectly reported that Bishay was still employed at the school.