Teacher claims she was fired over sex and alcoholism discrimination

8:03 PM, May 10, 2012   |    comments
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  • Still shot from Eton Police Department dash cam video of Jennifer Zeigler's March 16, 2011 arrest
  • Shot of Bagley Middle School in Chatsworth, GA where Jennifer Zeigler taught and was headed the morning of her DUI arrest.
  • DUI mug shot of teacher Jennifer Zeigler (from March 16, 2011)

CHATSWORTH, GA - A Northwest Georgia teacher claims she was fired because she's a woman and an alcoholic.

Jennifer Zeigler, 45, filed a federal EEOC discrimination complaint against the Murray County School system after they fired her for a DUI arrest last year.

In a dash cam video provided to 11Alive News on Thursday by the Eton Police Department, Zeigler can be seen flunking several field sobriety tests during the March 16, 2011 traffic stop.

In his police report, Officer T. Pasley wrote that he pulled Zeigler over at 6:30 am for doing 63 mph in a 35 mph zone.

She can be seen swaying and her speech is slurred.

She told Officer Pasley she had not had anything to drink and was on her way to nearby Bagley Middle School where she taught.

After she failed several sobriety tests, including an alco-senser breath test, she agreed to have a blood test done at Murray Medical Center.

Officer Pasley told 11 Aive the blood test showed Zeigler's blood alcohol level at .311, nearly four times the .08 legal limit.

He also wrote that she tried to give a hospital lab technician some toilet water instead of a urine sample.

Zeigler got 12 months probation and had to complete a drug and alcohol awareness program after pleading "no contest" to the DUI charge in May of 2011.

In her EEOC complaint she claims the school system discriminated against her because two male employees had gotten DUI's in the past, but kept their jobs.

She also claimed she suffered from the disability of alcoholism.

Mike Tuck, Administrative Services Director for Murray County Schools, declined an on camera interview, but he emailed 11Alive a copy of Zeigler's EEOC complaint and the school system's response.

He also sent an email which said he and School Superintendent Vickie Reed don't know about Zeigler's sex discrimination claim since they have only been there a few years.

He also wrote that Zeigler's situation was, "unique from all others in that she was three times the legal limit, on her way to school in the early morning hours of a workday, where, but for being pulled over and arrested, she would have arrived at school, where she would have surely put our students, parents and staff at risk of serious injury or death."

I spoke in person with Zeigler at her Chatsworth home Thursday afternoon, but she did not want to do a TV interview.

All she would say was, "I'm in a different place now; I've moved on with my life".

Now it's up to the EEOC to determine if her case has enough merit for her to file a federal discrimination lawsuit.

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