Former CCPS spokesperson testifies in age-discrimination suit

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The former spokesperson for Chesterfield County Public Schools is suing for age discrimination. She claims CCPS forced her out because she's too old. The trial got underway Wednesday in federal court.

Debra Marlow testified for several hours, trying to convince a jury that she was forced out because she lacked "21st century communication skills".

Marlow and her attorneys were all smiles outside the court house. But when the doors were closed, it was all business. For most of the afternoon, Marlow testified bluntly about who was better to carry-out the school system's 21st century vision: either herself, or, her former assistant, Tim Bullis.

She testified, "Tim Bullis was not better at any communication skills than I was."

The feeling took root in 2008, when Marlow was reluctantly re-assigned, and the younger Bullis was promoted to her job. A year later, despite what she called "outstanding performance evaluations", Marlow's new position was eliminated.

Instead of getting her old job back, Marlow was offered by Superintendent Marcus Newsome a different job, with slightly less pay.

"I pleaded with [Newsome] not to do that," she testified, but "[Newsome] basically shunned me," after she declined the offer, and retired.

Marlow accuses the school system of deliberately forcing her out because of her allegation strongly denied by her former employer. Marlow, now 60 years old, is seeking damages of at least $90,000. But we'll have to wait at least another day to hear what the jury decides. The school system's case will be made Thursday, including the testimony of the superintendent.

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