Appeals Court Rejects Suit Against U. of Minnesota

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has affirmed a lower court's ruling that Jen Banford was not fired from her position as head softball coach and director of operations for the women's hockey team at the University of Minnesota at Duluth for being a lesbian.

She sued Duluth in 2015.

Said the Eighth Circuit: "Banford also has not carried her ultimate burden of persuading us that she was the victim of intentional discrimination. Out of four part-time hockey staff members, three were openly gay. Two of those openly gay women's contracts were renewed. … The differentiating factor between those whose contracts were renewed and Banford was not their sexual orientation. Banford has not met her burden of showing that she was fired because of her sexual orientation, rather than to allow the incoming head coach to appoint her own director of operations. Accordingly, we affirm the grant of UMD's motion for summary judgment."

 

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