Virginia Commonwealth University has wrapped up its internal investigation into the termination of James Finley, the openly gay Women’s Volleyball Coach, and their review found no misconduct or discrimination.
Finley was fired at the end of his “best season ever” with VCU women’s volleyball. He believes, because of the treatment he received throughout the season, and the demotion of the only other openly gay employee, that VCU’s new Athletic Director Ed McLaughlin fired him for his sexuality.
In a press release from the university, they expressed an exhaustive investigation, speaking with 16 individuals related to the case. The release stated ” allegations of discrimination based on sexual orientation were unsubstantiated.”
Finley released a response shortly after and called ‘foul’ on the investigation. “I am dismayed by the poor quality of the investigative procedures followed by numerous factual inaccuracies included in the report…” said Finley.
While Finley said he would take time over the holidays to decide his next steps, Michael Hamar, an attorney in Norfolk, said Finley has little legal recourse. Governor Mcdonnell removed protections for LGBT state employees in an executive order issued shortly after his entry to office, and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli went after state colleges for trying to amend their own discrimination policies to include sexual orientation. “There is nothing in Virginia statutory law that grants him a shred of meaningful protection,” said Hamar, “… the only step left would be a federal trial.”
The federal case would take place in the 4th Circuit court, which Hamar says is one of the most conservative courts in the country. “Under Virginia law, there are few options…” said Hamar, “Its pretty sad when even state government agencies can discriminate and thats the way it is. People call me and ask about moving to Virginia for promotions or job offers and I tell them it’s not a pretty picture.”
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