Friday, February 10, 2012

University May Fire Human Resources VP For Expressing Her Religiously-Based Views On Gays

In Dixon v. University of Toledo, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14934 (ND OH, Feb. 6, 2012), an Ohio federal district court upheld action by the University of Toledo in dismissing the Associate Vice President for Human Resources who, based on her religious views, published (without identifying her position with the University) a response to an op-ed in a local newspaper in which she objected to the idea that homosexuals are "civil rights victims" and said that homosexuality is purely a choice. In her suit challenging her dismissal, plaintiff alleged free speech and equal protection violations, repeatedly citing her religious views. The court held that plaintiff's free speech rights were not infringed because the nature of her position with the University meant that her statement could disrupt the Human Resources Department and cause prospective employees who are gay or lesbian to reconsider or withdraw their applications. Her statement could also lead to challenges to her employment decisions. The court also rejected plaintiff's equal protection claim.