A former Eclipse Bank officer asserts in a lawsuit that the financial institution discriminated against her on the basis of gender and age when it hired a younger, less qualified male candidate as president in March.
Sheryl Rainey, 49, former senior vice president of treasury management and head of retail, sales and operations, also said in the suit, filed May 4, that when bank President Andrew Pyles, 37, fired her, he unlawfully retaliated against her for complaints she had filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
Rainey was one of four vice presidents abruptly dismissed from the Louisville-based bank on April 27, less than a month after Pyles was chosen to lead the privately held institution. At the end of March, Pyles, a Campbellsville native, succeeded Steve Stratton, who left in February.
Rainey has asked the Jefferson Circuit Court to award unspecified damages for embarrassment, humiliation, mental anguish, back pay, front pay and lost benefits.
As of Friday afternoon, the bank had not yet filed a response to the suit. Pyles told Insider via email that the bank could not comment on pending litigation.
Rainey said in the suit that she applied and interviewed for the job of president and CEO on March 23, but the bank’s board on March 30 gave the post to Pyles, “a 37-year-old male with less professional banking experience than Rainey and less formal education than Rainey.”
The nine-member board of Eclipse Bank includes no women.
Rainey said she “was objectively more qualified for the president/CEO position than Pyles because Eclipse uses a computer program known as ‘Profile XT’ to screen and categorize job candidates and Rainey’s … score was a significantly better match for the qualification criteria set forth by Eclipse,” according to the suit.
The job posting for the job of president listed as minimum requirements a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting or business, with an MBA being preferred. Rainey holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky and an MBA from the University of Louisville. Pyles attended Lexington Community College but did not obtain a degree.
Pyles LinkedIn page previously showed that he attended the University of Kentucky from 1998 to 2002. The bank’s interim CEO Bob Hill told Insider via email last month that Pyles attended the former LCC at the time that it was part of UK. Pyles LinkedIn page has since been updated to indicate that he attended LCC, “now part of the KCTCS network” from 1999 to 2002.
Pyles told Insider via email Friday that the job posting and description were not authorized by the CEO or board of directors but were written “by an individual who is no longer with the bank.”
On April 1, Rainey filed a sex discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and on April 17, she filed a complaint with the FDIC, “expressing her concerns over Pyles’ lack of qualifications for the job of bank president and CEO and also about the financial security and stability of the bank.”
The FDIC is a government agency charged with preserving and promoting public confidence in the U.S. financial system, in part by identifying, monitoring and addressing risks to the deposit insurance funds; and by limiting the effect on the economy and the financial system when a bank or thrift institution fails.
Ten days after Rainey filed the complaint, she was fired by Eclipse board member Alan Morris, according to the suit. “Agents of Eclipse remotely wiped all the data off Rainey’s personal cellphone that morning and she was escorted out of the bank.”
This story was updated to include information about the composition of the bank’s board.