Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Gay Catholic School Teacher Sues After Being Fired

Your Yeshiva Could Be Next!

A gay teacher has filed a lawsuit against an Ohio Catholic school for being fired after school officials discovered she was gay from her mother's published obituary which included the name of her partner.

Carla Hale, 57, spent the last 19 years as a physical education teacher at Bishop Watterson High School. However, she said she was let go because her relationship is against Biblical teachings.

She plans to file a complaint this week with the city of Columbus, which prohibits firings based on sexual orientation, her attorney Thomas Tootle stated Monday. She also filed a grievance that is now being reviewed by a union representing teachers in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus.

Hale said she was fired during Holy Week in March after an anonymous letter sent to school administrators drew attention to the obituary published in The Columbus Dispatch. Signed by "a concerned parent," the letter reads:

"My daughter came home and told me that one of the gym teacher's mother had died. She asked me to pray for her. When we looked in the obituaries, I was shocked by what I saw. It had her teacher's name and that of her 'spouse' listed. It was two females!"

Hale, who is Methodist, was informed about two weeks after her mother's death that the school was investigating, but she never had a chance to discuss it with school leaders, her attorney said.
"It's kind of baffling that someone would take an obituary and use it, to me, in such a mean-spirited manner," Hale said at a news conference last week.

The Diocese of Columbus released a statement saying, "All Catholic school personnel at the outset of their employment agree that they will abide by the rules, regulations and policies of the Catholic Diocese, including respecting the moral values advanced by the teachings of Christ."

Students have rallied behind Hale following her termination from the school. An online petition seeking her reinstatement has collected about 100,000 supporters.
(Latino Post)

more on this story
Carla Hale and her attorney have filed a criminal complaint with the Columbus Community Relations Commission.

Hale is the Bishop Watterson physical education teacher who was fired by the Catholic Diocese of Columbus after her same-sex relationship was published in her mother's obituary.

Tom Tootle, Hale's attorney, said he hand-delivered the complaint to the commission, and that the executive director of that commission said the next step is an investigation.
 "If appropriate, they will charge the party responsible for terminating Ms. Hale with a first-degree misdemeanor," said Tootle.

He said they filed a discrimination complaint with the city at the same time Hale's grievance with the Diocese of Columbus is moving through the second stage at her teacher's union.

NBC4 asked Tootle why they are filing both at the same time.
"There is a time deadline to file. Under the section, we have only six months. We want to make sure we have met that deadline," he said.

The diocese has not responded to questions about the complaint filed, but has said all along that Hale was fired for a spousal relationship, which they believe is a distinction that could make the complaint a moot point. It means the church believes Hale was living out of wedlock regardless of whether her spouse is a man or woman.

Tootle said they have three ways to appeal Hale's firing: the grievance stages, a civil lawsuit, and the criminal complaint with the Columbus Community Relations Commission.

The director of that commission said now that they have the complaint, they will conduct a full investigation that is reviewed by the commissioners and a judge.
"If there is a probable finding, the commission will look at that again and refer it to the city attorney's office to determine if they can prosecute at that time," said Napoleon Bell, commission executive director.
"When you look at the letter of termination and the documents submitted with our complaint, there is no room for doubt whatsoever that Carla Hale was terminated on the basis of her sexual orientation," said Tootle.

1 comment:

  1. Telshe is in Ohio, this law could apply to them also?