Lawsuit Accuses SB Unified of Disability Harassment

By the edhat staff

A former Santa Barbara Unified School District employee filed a lawsuit against the district last month alleging disability harassment and retaliation.

Todd Ryckman, the former chief educational technology officer, filed on June 13 with his attorneys from the Rancho Cucamonga-based Myers Law Group.

The complaint for damages include disability discrimination, failure to accommodate a disability, failure to engage in the interactive process, violation of the California Family Rights Act, a hostile work environment, and more. The suit demads a jury trial.

Ryckman was employed by the district from 1997 to October of 2021 and worked as the Chief Educational Technology Officer since July 2012. The complaint states he suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and anxiety and informed Superintendent Dr. Hilda Maldonado of his illnesses.

The lawsuit states Maldonado criticized Ryckman for using available vacation time and during one meeting stated, “I don’t want to hear it, everyone has problems.”

The suit details multiple meetings and interactions that Ryckman felt were harassing and out of retaliation. In October he resigned citing constructive termination, a California law referring to difficult working conditions that make an employee feel forced to resign. 

In 2019, Ryckman was accused of harassment himself by two former employees. Although after separate investigations, Ryckman was fully cleared of all accusations, reports The Independent. 

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

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  1. I gotta say, as a non-fan of Hilda and all the stuff she’s done that I feel is hurting our local educational system, that this looks pretty marginal as a legitimate lawsuit. “You have OCD and “anxiety”? That’s fine, but how is that keeping you from doing your job exactly? If you really have a diagnosis you should be seeing a doctor and/or psychologist and it’s your responsibility to get treated. We don’t know all the details of course, but having read the recent Indy (or Noozhawk) article I’d say this guy couldn’t handle his job and deserved to be let go. You can’t keep getting paid if you aren’t able to work, as hired, on a daily basis. Suing the schools is just a big waste of money for our kids’ education going forward. I’m sure a few will hate my point of view. All good.

    • BRD, that’s so weird though, because an anonymous internet doctor has already assessed his disability and determined that he has filed a baseless lawsuit and was incompetent and should be fired.
      I guess you didn’t see that post or you wouldn’t dare to contradict a self proclaimed physician’s message board medicine.

  2. The SBUSD is horrendous with regard to their treatment of people with “invisible” disabilities (they would probably do the same to those with obvious disabilities if not for fear of public shaming and looking like a jerk). They exacerbate or CAUSE some student mental health problems, by their years of emotional abuse – blatant contempt for the inconvenience caused by the disability, punishing the student for the disability, inflicting non-stop catch 22 situations, refusal to help or follow IEPs, gaslighting, mocking, etc. It would defy logic if this culture didn’t extend to their treatment of employees.

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