Courtney Graham was a women’s basketball assistant at Drake University, but in 2015 she was asked to leave and no reason was given to it. Mrs. Graham thinks that misunderstanding between her and her bosses began when she asked her girlfriend (now wife) to come to the school team game.
‘After discovery of plaintiff’s sexual orientation, she was subjected to hostile interactions on the job,’ the lawsuit says. ‘And the subject of inter-office slander, speculation and gossip related to her sexual orientation.’
When she was asked to resign, Graham first refused, but subsequently says she resigned three weeks later, under duress. Her lawsuit alleges discrimination based on sexual orientation, as well as two counts of retaliation, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and harassment. On Wednesday (28 December), Drake released a statement denying the allegations. ‘Drake University and head women’s basketball coach Jennie Baranczyk have a strong commitment to diversity, tolerance and non-discrimination,’ it reads. ‘Consistent with university policy regarding personnel matters and out of respect to the parties involved, we will not provide further comment.’ According to the university, Graham made similar claims in a complaint to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. The commission dismissed her complaint at the time and, according to CBS Philly, said it ‘didn’t believe that further investigation would reveal that Graham was discriminated against.’