Lawsuit Filed Against Kentucky Credit Union That Discriminated Against Lesbian Woman

By Adam Polaski • May 12, 2017 • 12:17 pm

Today, May 12, Fauver Law Office in Louisville, Kentucky filed a lawsuit against Park Community Credit Union on behalf of a woman who last year was harassed and fired from her job because of her sexual orientation.

The plaintiff, Penelope Hudson, worked at the credit union for 15 years, and during her time there, she faced repeated discrimination for being a lesbian. The complaint details how Penelope was told that she looked “too butch” to interface with customers, was called “unprofessional” because she wore her hair short, was told by a supervisor “because you’re gay, you don’t believe in God,” and was grilled about the personal medical reasons that she was taking FMLA time, with her supervisor saying, “We wanted to make sure it’s not because you’re gay.”

After being passed over for promotions and even being demoted, Park Community Credit Union ultimately fired Penelope in September 2016. Months before she was ultimately fired, she received a positive performance review and she still gets questions from longtime credit union members about why they don’t see her at work anymore.

Read the complaint here.

Penelope Hudson said today:

“I’m heartbroken that this happened – I loved my job and I was good at my job, and I loved the members that I dealt with every day. I gave my heart and soul to this company, and then I was fired for no other reason than that I am gay. That is hard to believe, and I’m filing this case because I want this company to know that this is not OK. I never want any other LGBT person to be treated the way I was treated.”

Shannon Fauver, who is representing Penelope in her case, added:

“What happened to Penelope is wrong – and there is a growing consensus in federal courts, including the full 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, that this kind of employment discrimination based on sexual orientation is clearly illegal under existing law. We’ll keep standing up in the court of law, because no hardworking person should face unfair treatment because of who they are.”

Shannon Fauver, who is filing the case, was one of the lawyers whose cases (Bourke v. Beshear and Love v. Beshear) secured the freedom to marry in Kentucky and were ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2015. Just last year, in Fauver’s case Mickens v. General Electric, centered on a transgender man who faced employment discrimination because of his gender identity, a federal judge refused to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims under Title VII, adding to the growing legal consensus that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits anti-LGBT employment discrimination.

In Kentucky, plus 30 other states, state laws do not fully protect LGBT people from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Penelope’s case is being filed citing claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including sex discrimination like gender stereotyping and sexual orientation discrimination, as well as the local non-discrimination LGBT ordinance in Louisville, Kentucky.

In April, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that employment discrimination based on sexual orientation is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

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