Former Donda Academy employees Cecilia Hailey and Chekarey Byers have filed a racial discrimination and wrongful termination lawsuit against its owner, Kanye West, and the the school claiming that they were unfairly dismissed.
lIn the court documents, Hailey and Byers claim that they were hired at the school in January 2023 and were dismissed two months later in alleged retaliation for reporting code violations.
The two former employees reportedly expressed concerns about “unlawful and unsafe practices”, including that Donda Academy was not following state regulations “for students in need of educational services, additional testing, or individualized learning plans”, and that the institution lacked janitorial services, a nurse, security precautions, and a “proper disciplinary system”, resulting in cases of bullying and physical assault. They also alleged that children were not permitted to go outdoors during the school day and were prohibited from bringing in outside food, even though they were allegedly only fed one sushi meal per day.
Hailey claimed that, on three separate occasions, she issued her concerns to Donda Academy principal Moira Love but was simply dismissed as “aggressive” for doing so and was also “threatened not to reach out” to West.
The formal complaint states “Plaintiffs believe this type of comment facilitates stereotypes about African-American women as being confrontational simply for doing their job and voicing their legitimate concerns in order to provide a safe environment and proper education for their students.’ “No action was taken to remedy plaintiffs’ complaints regarding sanitation, health, safety or education standard pursuant to local and state law, which plaintiffs made throughout the entirety of their employment.”
In a press release, Byers added, “I still enjoy his music, and I’ll never deny his talent, but while his vision for the school sounds great on paper, it’s just pure chaos and mutiny. It’s like a mental hospital being run by the patients.”
They plaintiffs are suing to be compensated for alleged unpaid wages, loss of earnings and other employment benefits.