US: Former school football coach says he lost his job because he was gay

Aaron Day November 6, 2013
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A former football coach for a school in California has said he was harassed and fired from his job because he was gay.

InsideBayArea reports that Burke Wallace, the former head varsity football coach and English teacher at Livermore Valley Charter Preparatory School, alleged he lost his coaching job after he mentioned to his supervisors “in passing” that he had a husband.

According to a lawsuit filed in Alameda County Superior Court, Mr Wallace named the school, the Tri-Valley Learning Corporation, and a number of ‘John Does’ in his suit.

John Furstenthal, Mr Wallace’s attorney, said: “He was wrongfully terminated because of his sexual orientation, and the (school’s) administration is responsible for that.

“They may try to come up with all these different excuses, but I don’t think they’ll hold water in court.”

Mr Furstenthal added that Mr Wallace’s sexuality was not a secret, although some parents and administrators had objected to him coaching the team.

The lawsuit claims Wallace’s supervisors openly discussed “how it was a bad idea having a gay football coach.”

Mr Wallace was fired from his coaching duties in Spring earlier this year and was forced to leave his teaching job as a result of harassment and stress.

He has sued the alleged parties for discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation, failure to prevent discrimination, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and breach of contract.

The former teacher is also seeking an unspecified amount in lost wages and future salary, general and non-economic damages, as well as attorney fees and punitive damages.

In September, the openly gay coach of the women’s England football team was sacked following bad results at the Euro 2013 competition, despite becoming known for drastically raising the profile of England women’s football.

Related topics: Americas, California, football, job, Sport features, US

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