The Rock Hill School District is under fire after a former female athletic director alleges that she received “unequal and biased treatment” from Northwestern High School. After reporting that she believed she was being treated differently than the district’s male athletic directors, she was fired. A federal judge ruled in early November that her case could proceed, though its outcome is unknown as of this writing. Sex discrimination allegations of this type are quite serious and tend to proceed on similar lines in many different industries.
Sex bias and gender bias are often used as interchangeable terms, though sex and gender are different. Both biases, however, are considered unlawful under the South Carolina Human Affairs Law and the federal Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The plaintiff in a case must establish that they were treated differently from others in the same position due to their sex (or gender), and almost any situation may qualify, from hiring to firing.
The female athletic director’s lawsuit alleges that she faced a lack of professional respect that the male directors of the other high schools in the Rock Hill district received, culminating in being “left out” of the hiring of a new head football coach, though these types of hirings were within her job description. She was also accused of improper conduct in authorizing her husband and daughter to receive school funds. However, she both denies any wrongdoing and alleges that the other high school coaches in Rock Hill’s district routinely allowed their (female) spouses to “work the athletic gates” without discipline.
If you believe that you have experienced gender or sex discrimination, perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that you must file a claim quickly. Depending on whether you choose to file under South Carolina law or federal law, you only have a specific time in which to file your claim against your employer. Typically, you’ll have 180 days after the date of the inciting incident under federal law, and up to 300 days if you choose to file with the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission (HAC).
It is important to keep in mind that after the ruling in the 2020 case of R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC, Title VII has been held to apply to employees with a non-conforming gender identity as well. If you are transgender or gender non-conforming, you may now have the ability to file a complaint against your employer for sex discrimination if you can establish you were treated differently than a cisgender person would have been treated. The Northwestern athletic director’s case has been brought mostly on the basis of alleged gender bias, but sex bias will often be a part of many of these types of cases as well.
Contact A South Carolina Employment Discrimination Attorney
It remains to be seen whether the Northwestern female athletic director will prevail in her suit, but if you have been discriminated against on the basis of gender or sex, it is a good idea to contact an experienced attorney to discuss your options. Attorney A. Christopher Potts and the firm of Hitchcock & Potts have handled these cases for many years now. Contact our offices today to set up a consultation to discuss your matter.