Lambda Legal to File Sexual Orientation Discrimination Charge Against Bremen School Board and Board President on Behalf of Gay Superintendent
(Chicago, October 2, 2006) — In a letter sent to lawyers for the Bremen Community School Board today, Lambda Legal announced its intent to file a sexual orientation discrimination charge with the Illinois Department of Human Rights against the Bremen Community High School District No. 228 and its president, Evelyn Gleason.
“Ms. Gleason didn’t want Dr. Mitchell to be hired and now that she is president of the Board, she’s doing everything in her power to get him fired because he is gay,” said James P. Madigan, Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal’s Midwest Regional Office. “The fact that Dr. Mitchell is gay has nothing to do with his ability to do his job.”
Dr. Richard Mitchell is the superintendent for the Bremen Community High School District No. 228. In 2004, Mitchell interviewed for the position of superintendent with members of the School Board. Following his interview, then Board member Evelyn Gleason encouraged other members of the Board not to hire him because he is gay. The Board chose to hire Mitchell through the end of the 2007 school year, and following an assessment of his work in 2005 the school board extended his contract through June 2009. Shortly after Mitchell’s contract was extended, Gleason became president of the Board and subsequently fired the Board’s counsel, hiring the law firm where her son was partner. The new lawyer to the Board promptly circulated a memo finding that Mitchell’s extended contract was invalid.
Lambda Legal is arguing that the actions taken against Dr. Mitchell are illegal under the Illinois Human Rights Act, which protects employees from being fired for their sexual orientation or gender identity and also from being retaliated against when they exercise their rights under the Act.
For more information on workplace discrimination and Lambda Legal’s “Blow the Whistle on Workplace Discrimination” campaign, please visit www.lambdalegal.org/btw.
The Matter is Mitchell v. Bremmen Community School District No. 228 and Gleason et al.
James P. Madigan, Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal’s Midwest Regional Office in Chicago is representing Dr. Mitchell in this matter.
Jackie Yodashkin 212-809-8585 ext.229
Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.