INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A second counselor at Roncalli High School has filed a discrimination charge against the Catholic school and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, claiming she was discriminated against based on her sexual orientation.
Lynn Starkey, who has served as a counselor at the school for the past 21 years, filed the charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Friday. According to a press release, Starkey is a gay woman who has been in a civil union with her spouse since 2015.
Starkey says the school’s decision to place coworker Shelly Fitzgerald on administrative leave because of her same-sex marriage has adversely altered the conditions of her work environment in multiple respects.
Two days after Fitzgerald was placed on leave, Starkey says Principal Chuck Weisenbach asked her if she had a civil union and answered truthfully. Starkey says she isn’t aware of any situation, other than herself and Fitzgerald, where the principal has asked an employee about potential violations of church teachings.
Starkey says the mistreatment of Fitzgerald has demonstrated that she is not welcome to work at the school as a gay person.
“Ms. Starkey has suffered severe emotional distress, pain and suffering, and mental anguish as a result of the Archdiocese and Roncalli’s discriminatory actions,” wrote Starkey’s attorneys at DeLaney & DeLaney.
In addition, Starkey claims she hasn’t received a $1,500 per year bonus that she earned for a teacher of the year award she received in 2009. Starkey says Roncalli’s President, Joseph Hollowell, has told her that he is reviewing the matter, but he has not approved payment.
“This is an additional act of discrimination against Ms. Starkey and further contributes the hostile work environment that she is experiencing,” wrote Starkey’s attorneys.
The filing of the discrimination charge is a required first step before a lawsuit can be initiated in court under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Once the EEOC concludes its administrative review of Starkey’s charge, she intends to sue the Archdiocese and the school.
Fitzgerald’s attorney, David Page, has issued this statement over Starkey’s case:
“Shelly respected Lynn. We support Lynn in her efforts and we support her attorney. We believe this is further evidence that there was truly discrimination in Shelly’s case. This is further proof that what we have been saying all along is true.”
Starkey’s attorney, Kathleen DeLaney, discusses the case in the video below: