BALTIMORE — A private school in Baltimore’s suburbs will pay $41,000 and implement new policies to combat gender discrimination to settle a federal sex discrimination suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission stemming from the dismissal of a male softball coach, the EEOC explained in a statement.
A male softball coach at the Park School of Baltimore, in Pikesville, said that he had been employed by the school from 2014 through 2016, having his contract renewed each spring, until the school expressed a preference for finding a woman to coach, letting him go prior to the 2017 season, the suit claims. The EEOC complaint alleges the coach had done satisfactory work up until his dismissal.
The firing violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which does not allow discrimination on the basis of sex, prompting the EEOC to file suit in the District of Maryland, Baltimore division.
Beyond a monetary settlement awarded to the coach, the school must abide by a two-year consent decree meant to provide “significant equitable relief,” according to the EEOC’s statement. The Park School will implement a policy prohibiting gender discrimination and retaliation. No further gender discrimination will be tolerated, the school will have to post notice regarding the settlement and employee rights, and any future complaints of similar discrimination must be reported to the EEOC. The school must also provide training to prohibit such discrimination, as well as educating employees about federal anti-discrimination laws.
“Title VII protects both men and women from unequal treatment based on gender,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. “We are pleased the Park School worked with us to resolve this quickly, fairly and without incurring unnecessary litigation expenses.”
A statement from the Park School confirmed the suit, saying it originated “from a male coach of our Girls’ Varsity Softball team claiming the school had discriminated against him based on his gender,” the statement said.
“While we steadfastly deny the allegation in the complaint and maintain that the school did not violate Title VII, in order to resolve the action without the time and expense of further litigation, Park has agreed to settle the case," read a statement attributed to the Head of Park School, Dan Paradis. "As stated in the court record, The Park School fully supports Title VII and equal opportunities for all people. The school does not discriminate against employees or applicants for employment on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, ancestry, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, marital status, or any physical or mental disability. We continue to actively search for, hire, and support inspired and inspiring teachers and coaches to work with our Pre-K through Grade 12 gender-inclusive community, and to fulfill The Park School Mission and Objectives.”