Flint Dollar, the gay band director who was fired from his job at a Catholic prep school in Macon due to his plans to marry his partner, is hoping the gender discrimination claim he filed against the school will result in getting his job back and/or getting an admission that his firing was unlawful discrimination, according to his attorney.
Dollar filed a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Mount de Sales Academy alleging gender discrimination on June 20. See below for a copy of the claim.
His attorney, Charles Cox, cites Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as precedent.
“Typically, Title VII doesn’t protect against sexual orientation discrimination,” Cox tells the GA Voice. “But what it does protect against is gender discrimination, which is when you don’t adhere to traditional gender stereotypes.”
Cox also cites Glenn v. Brumby, the Eleventh Circuit court case from 2011 which found that the Georgia General Assembly fired activist Vandy Beth Glenn due to her being transgender, which was a violation of the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution that protects against gender discrimination.
“The same thing applies to same-sex marriage because that’s not conforming to traditional gender stereotypes,” Cox says.
In a previous interview with the GA Voice, Dollar expressed doubt that he would be willing to come back to Mount de Sales, saying, “With the way the school has responded in not responding, I don’t know that if I was to go back if it would be productive for anyone. I don’t want to go into a situation where every decision I make is questioned—that’s not good for the students.”
But his attorney said Dollar is leaving the door open to a return to his former position as band director and music teacher, saying, “I don’t know that getting his job back is necessarily off the table. After he had been terminated, the administration had nothing but wonderful things to say about him and praised the work he had done there and the guidance he gave the kids, and even said what a difficult position it would be for someone to come in and follow him as band director,” Cox explained.
But Dollar is also looking for something that could be more rewarding personally than getting his old job back: an admission that what happened to him in May was wrong.
“The other thing he’s looking for is a clear statement either by the EEOC or an agreement by Mount de Sales or a statement by the court that firing someone because they’re entering into a same-sex marriage is unlawful discrimination,” Cox says.
After the EEOC receives a claim, they open up a case and notify the employer typically within 10 days of the claim being filed. The employer is then asked to respond to the charge and give an explanation why they believe what they did is not in violation of the law. The process could include EEOC interviews and request for documentation and can take six months or longer. If the EEOC gets the parties together for mediation and that fails, Dollar would have the ability to take Mount de Sales to court to pursue his claims.
Dollar’s wedding is scheduled for this Saturday, July 12 in Minneapolis.
TIMELINE 2010 Flint Dollar is interviewed for a job at Mount de Sales Academy, where he discloses that he is gay. Dollar is hired shortly thereafter as band director and music teacher. Late 2013 Dollar informs the administration that he is planning on marrying his partner the following July. May 1, 2014 The school renews Dollar’s contract for another year. May 21, 2014 School President David Held calls Dollar into his office on the final day of school and fires him, citing his impending marriage as the sole reason for the dismissal. Late June 2014 Dollar files a gender discrimination claim against Mount de Sales Academy through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Three members of the Mount de Sales Academy board of trustees resigned in the wake of the school’s firing of Dollar.
Dollar was among nine fired Catholic gay and gay-friendly school teachers who signed a letter sent May 27 requesting a meeting with Pope Francis to talk about what happened to them.
The “Save Flint Dollar” Facebook page has more than 2,500 likes . The “Reconsider the termination of Mr. Flint Dollar” petition on Change.org has more than 3,700 supporters.
Dollar is asking supporters that in lieu of wedding gifts for him and his partner that they donate money to the Mount de Sales band for new uniforms.
Dollar’s wedding is scheduled for July 12 in Minneapolis.