Prestigious Boston Area Prep School Sued for Discrimination After Firing Gay Food Service Worker
The Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) has filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) against Fontbonne Academy, a religiously affiliated all girls college preparatory school in Milton, MA, after the school terminated a man they had just hired as Food Services Director upon learning he was gay and married to another man.
Matt Barrett, a longtime food industry professional, was offered the position on July 9, 2013, after three interviews. Mr. Barrett accepted the offer the same day and gave notice at his previous job. After accepting the position, Mr. Barrett filled out the school’s required employment paperwork, including a form that required him to list an emergency contact and state that person’s relationship to him. Mr. Barrett gave a truthful answer and listed his husband.
The next day, Barrett was contacted by email and asked to come in for another meeting on July 12, 2013. At that meeting, he learned that the school would no longer employ him because he was gay and married to a man.
“If I’m planning and making meals for students, I’m not sure what my being gay has to do with the job,” said Mr. Barrett. “I’ve always done well in my work, and was excited about working at Fontbonne. All I did was fill out the form honestly.”
“Religiously affiliated entities do not have a free pass to do as they please in how they treat employees, particularly when it comes to our important laws against discrimination,” said Benn Klein, GLAD Senior Attorney. “Our laws carefully balance the important values of religious liberty and non-discrimination. Here we have a school that is open to everybody, and the job had nothing to do with religion”.
On its website, Fontbonne says its school is an “inclusive community (that) embraces diversity in many forms (and) promotes a safe, diverse learning environment …”