A high school swim coach in Indiana is suing her school system for sex discrimination, saying she has been treated differently than male coaches in the district for the past two years.
The Goshen News reports that Wawasee High School head swim coach Julie Robinson has filed a lawsuit against the Wawasee Community School system, claiming gender bias. Per that report, Robinson is the head boys and girls swim coach at Wawasee High School, but says she has been told by the school to defer coaching philosophy or program decisions to male middle school coaches.
“I believe that [athletic director Cory] Schutz and the two male middle school coaches are paving a way for my termination by creating a false perception of my demeanor and damaging my reputation,” Robinson wrote, per the Goshen News report. “I am being treated differently than male coaches in the athletic department by being asked to defer to middle school coaches.”
Schutz reprimanded Robinson in January of 2017, the report says, for criticizing the middle school coaches. The next year, in February of 2018, Robinson says the school told her she was under investigation but wouldn’t tell her why. She says the school gave her recommendations for “improving her attitude,” but she called the recommendations “vague and unmeasurable,” per the Goshen News report.
In March, Robinson filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), but that commission was unable to prove that federal discrimination laws were violated. The EEOC made clear, though, that while it couldn’t prove federal law had been violated, that didn’t mean the school hadn’t violated anti-discrimination law and that Robinson could still file a legal complaint, which she did in December.
The case is the second swimming-related gender bias suit in recent memory. Former Rutgers University head coach Petra Martin settled a suit with Rutgers last month, getting a $725,000 payout and a public exoneration from any allegations that she’d bullied athletes. Martin says implicit gender bias played a role in her ousting from Rutgers, and that the school didn’t follow traditional protocols in investigating complaints against her.