(Editor’s note: This was first posted on Louisville Courant. It’s used here with permission.)
The latest argument for a statewide Fairness law in Kentucky was made Wednesday in Hardin County Court with the filing of a lawsuit by Bernice Bennett against her employer.
Bennett’s bosses were processing paperwork for Bennett’s promotion to a supervisor position until she began active involvement in the Elizabethtown Community and Technical College’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA).
That’s when Bennett’s employer stopped processing her promotion. Then, her supervisor told her she was “going to hell.”
Bennett is not suing a private bigoted business owner, however. Bennett’s employer of 14 years is ECTC itself, a division of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS). That’s the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Our tax dollars at work ….
Louisville Courant was provided a digital copy of the complaint from The Community Letter before it was filed. The 8-page complaint makes 46 points, and can be found here: Bennett vs KCTCS Board of Regents. (Editor’s note: Lawsuits only give one side of the dispute.)
The Commonwealth of Kentucky prohibits discrimination in employment decisions based on sexual orientation, and that’s where ECTC is probably just needs to make this right so it will go away. ECTC’s website indicates they know about the employment decision policy:
Bennett alleges she was subjected to retaliation and reprisal, both of which are Whistleblower Violations. Bennett represented by attorneys Laura E. Landenwich and Daniel J. Canon with the Louisville firm of Clay Frederick Adams, PLC.
ECTC’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), was formed in 2004 with the following purpose:
…to provide safe social, emotional, and educational support for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning (GLBTQ), and ally populations on campus and in the surrounding communities. The Gay-Straight Alliance also acts as an educational student organization to provide greater awareness of the issues that concern the members themselves, the university, and the surrounding communities.” (Activities and Organizations)
Unrelated to Bennett’s lawsuit, according to ECTC’s website, the college’s discrimination protections are “race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs or activities.” (About us) Sexual orientation? Physical mental or disability? Not so much:
Hold up, it looks like that telling omission comes from KCTCS:
Named in the complaint is KCTCS President Dr. Michael B. McCall, who was hired into the position in December 1998 by a Board of Regents appointed by then-Kentucky Governor Paul E. Patton. (History) Ironic that McCall’s been on the job almost 14 years too, but in that time has not included sexual orientation, or physical or mental disability, as discrimination protections.
Also being sued are ECTC President Thelma White, Ann Thompson, Secretary of State Allison Lundergran Grimes, and the Board of Regents for the KCTCS.