Roncalli guidance counselor suspended over same-sex marriage files second discrimination charge
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– A Roncalli guidance counselor placed on administrative leave because of her marital status has filed an additional discrimination charge against the school and Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
The latest charge claims retaliation. According to Shelly Fitzgerald and her legal team, “the Archdiocese and Roncalli High School took adverse action against her father, Pat Fitzgerald, in an effort to punish and dissuade her from pursuing her action any further.”
Fitzgerald filed the the initial charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on Jan. 7.
Shelly Fitzgerald’s story first came to light in August, when she said the school suspended her after discovering she was married to a woman. Fitzgerald has worked at the school for 15 years and has been with the same partner for 22 years.
The school said her same-sex marriage is a violation of her contract with the school. Fitzgerald said she was given the option to dissolve her marriage, resign or quietly serve out the rest of her contract with the knowledge that it wouldn’t be renewed.
She said she had “no intention of resigning” and anticipated litigation against the school. In September, Fitzgerald’s story gained national attention when it appeared on The Ellen Degeneres Show.
Fitzgerald and her attorneys allege the school and Archdiocese believed they had “the right to intentionally discriminate” against Fitzgerald and also created a hostile work environment.
In the latest filing, Fitzgerald alleges a week after the initial filing was announced, the school told her father he would no longer be allowed to serve as a volunteer at Roncalli Senior Retreats, which he has done for 26 years. He served as a leader, mentor, and speaker at the retreats.
The charge says her father protested in favor of his daughter at an event with a sign that read “PLEASE TREAT MY DAUGHTER SHELLY KINDLY.”
“In banning Pat Fitzgerald from participating as a volunteer at the Senior Retreats, Roncalli and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis took a ‘materially adverse’ action in retaliation against a person within Shelly Fitzgerald’s ‘zone of interests,'” the charge reads.
The Archdiocese of Indianapolis issued this statement:
Roncalli High School is grateful for Mr. Pat Fitzgerald’s contributions over the years including volunteering to work at past senior Christian Awakening Retreats. Senior retreats are designed to be free of distractions to allow students to focus on their relationship with God. Due to the continuing attention surrounding his daughter’s suspension as a Roncalli guidance counselor after she violated her employment contract and his own participation in public protests over Catholic Church teaching, Mr. Fitzgerald was told that he would not be asked to work at this year’s retreats. Mr. Fitzgerald continues to be welcomed at the school’s public events and Masses.