Friday, April 18, 2014

University's Diversity Officer, Demoted For Anti-Gay Marriage Views, Loses Discrimination Lawsuit

In McCaskill v. Galludet University, (D DC, April 14, 2014), the District of Columbia federal district court dismissed a lawsuit brought by Angela McCaskill, Gallaudet University's former Chief Diversity Officer. The University placed McCaskill on administrative leave and eventually demoted her after it become known that at her church she had signed a petition to get a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage on the Maryland ballot. The University justified its action on the ground that McCaskill's ability to advocate for her constituents, particularly the university's gay community, had been compromised.  McCaskill brought the suit alleging discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, and political affiliation in violation of D.C.'s Human Rights Act; infliction of emotional distress; and defamation. In rejecting McCaskill's religious discrimination  claim, the court said in part:
Even if Gallaudet knew of her religious convictions or was aware that those convictions motivated her to sign the petition – a fact that remains hazy on the face of the Complaint – there is no factual allegation that her religion somehow prompted her suspension or demotion. ... [A]lthough it may be true that McCaskill signed the petition because she is a Christian ... the university cannot be guilty of discrimination on that basis.
Washington Business Journal reports on the decision.