FARLEY, Iowa — The trial date is approaching for a lawsuit in which a Western Dubuque Community School District employee alleges discrimination.

Mary Ann Trumm, the district’s human resources and public relations director, filed a suit that states her pay was cut without reason and that she and others have suffered gender discrimination while working for the district.

A jury trial regarding the case is set to start on Jan. 25 at the Dubuque County Courthouse.

Court documents state that Trumm has been employed at Western Dubuque Schools since August 2005 and has been the human resources and public relations director for several years.

Documents filed by Trumm’s attorneys state that Superintendent Rick Colpitts cut Trumm’s pay by $6,669 for the 2018-19 school year and an additional $7,000 for the 2019-20 school year. The cut made Trumm’s pay “substantially lower” compared to similar positions at other Iowa school districts of the same size, documents state.

“The reasons provided by Mr. Colpitts for cutting Mary Ann’s pay were inconsistent and false, and they represent pretext to attempt to cover his gender discrimination,” documents state.

In a statement to the Telegraph Herald, Colpitts said the district’s school board approved the pay cut after determining that Trumm’s salary did not match her job duties.

“The district has denied all of the claims made in the lawsuit that was filed,” he said.

Trumm alleges that she saw “numerous occasions” when Colpitts treated men differently than women and that Colpitts gave “adverse treatment” to Trumm after she questioned some of his decisions, documents state.

Additionally, documents state that Trumm was removed from her equity coordinator role by Colpitts, who appointed himself to the position. The suit claims this occurred when Trumm was looking into pay disparities between male and female employees in the English Language Learners program.

Trumm complained in 2018 and 2019 to the school board and district officials regarding her pay cut and other gender inequity concerns. Documents state no investigations were conducted.

In documents responding to the lawsuit, the attorney for the school district acknowledged that Trumm made complaints in 2018 and 2019 but denied the allegations made.

“The same claims were presented by Ms. Trumm to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, which administratively closed the file based on lack of evidence of any discrimination,” Colpitts added in his statement. “... I have faith in the system and look forward to addressing all of the issues.”

Documents filed by Trumm’s attorneys state that the Iowa Civil Rights Commission granted Trumm the right to sue the district last year. Attorneys for Trumm did not respond to requests for comment.

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