The former head of Baltimore County Public Schools human resources is suing the school system, claiming she was wrongfully terminated.

Shiria Anderson, who worked for the system between August 2021 and early December, outlined in court documents what she claims to be retaliation by the superintendent over decisions Anderson made in the course of her job. Baltimore County Circuit Court documents state Anderson is seeking damages as well as a jury trial.

The suit was filed April 13.

“BCPS declines to comment at this time on this pending litigation,” a spokesperson for the system stated. “Any information provided will be made in the course of the court’s proceedings.”

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

According to the document, Superintendent Darryl Williams’ assistant told Anderson in the fall that Williams wanted Anderson to send letters to employees whose positions were going to be eliminated due to recommendations in an efficiency review. Anderson wanted to make sure no employees were unlawfully targeted and to ensure the school system was complying with labor laws. Anderson had told Williams previously that three employees who’d received a letter could not be legally removed or demoted because they were tenured, the lawsuit said.

“Dr. Williams accused Ms. Anderson in response of disobeying his instructions,” the document states.

The system’s general counsel, Margaret-Ann Howie, confirmed the move would be illegal and Williams created “consultancy positions” for the employees to avoid demoting them, according to the lawsuit.

On several occasions in 2022, according to the suit, Anderson, Williams and Deputy Superintendent Myriam Yarbrough talked about disciplining a department manager. In July, Anderson placed the manager on leave but was later “berated” by Williams for doing so without talking to him first, according to the lawsuit. He accused her of “engaging in a ‘powerplay,’” the lawsuit said.

He also told Anderson she made a mistake in promoting an employee who had an active employment discrimination complaint pending against Williams. Williams claimed the employee had a “file” that made his promotion problematic, according to the lawsuit, but Howie said there was no justification to deny the promotion.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

The lawsuit also stated that around Nov. 23, Anderson denied an increase in the offered salary of a Montgomery County Public Schools employee who was applying to work in Baltimore County’s school system. The applicant was also the relative of Williams’ chief of staff. Anderson said the salary was too high. A few days later, Anderson was placed on administrative leave related to alleged misconduct.

“However, neither Dr. Williams nor anyone else at BCPS specified the nature of any misconduct to Ms. Anderson, nor was Ms. Anderson issued any investigative report regarding any investigation BCPS conducted into Ms. Anderson’s alleged misconduct,” the document stated.

Soon after, Anderson was terminated by Williams without reason or justification, the lawsuit states.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Anderson accused the system of retaliation for her reports of “violations of policy and law, and its actions constitute intentional, willful, malicious, and flagrant violations of the Ms. Anderson’s rights.” The document also states the system disregarded Anderson’s well-being and welfare, which warrants “compensatory damages, punitive damages, back pay, front pay, attorneys’ fees, expenses, costs, and such other and further relief as the Court deems just.”

kristen.griffith@thebaltimorebanner.com