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Former basketball coach sues university saying she was made to quit because she is a lesbian

Joseph McCormick January 18, 2017

A former women’s basketball coach has alleged in a lawsuit against a university that she was forced to resign from her job after her head coach found out she is gay.

The lawsuit was filed by former assistant coach Courtney Graham against Drake University.

She alleges that head coach Jennie Baranczyk had found out she was gay, and that she was made to leave her job.

Drake University has denied the allegations, and that a state panel had also previously denied the claim by the former assistant coach.

The lawsuit alleges that Graham was pressured to quit by Baranczyk six months after the head coach found out she was gay.

It alleges that in doing so, the head coach and university broke Iowa’s anti-discrimination law.

As well as the allegations of being pressured to leave, the lawsuit also argues that Graham became the subject of office gossip started by Baranczyk.

Graham started at Drake in 2012 after spending her own university years playing basketball at Mississippi State University.

She says her sexual orientation became “public knowledge” to the head coach and other staff members when she brought her partner, now wife, to a home basketball game.

Graham said that months later, Baranczyk insisted that she take time off because she was “not acting like herself”.

“After discovery of plaintiff’s sexual orientation, she was subjected to hostile interactions on the job and the subject of inter-office slander, speculation and gossip related to her sexual orientation,” the lawsuit alleges.

A statement from Drake University was released in response and said that the case was previously dismissed by the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, stating that the Commission found that there was not a “reasonable possibility that further investigation would reveal discrimination occurred.”

But the lawsuit alleges that Baranczyk asked Graham to resign with no formal reason on 14 May 2015.

It goes on to say that Graham was also blocked from finding similar work because of “negative information” passed on by the university to other prospective employers.

The lawsuit names Baranczyk and Drake University as defendants.

More: basketball, coach, courtney graham, Discrimination, drake university, jennie baranczyk, lesbian, US

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