'I Never Want Any Other LGBT Person to Be Treated the Way I Was Treated'
After working for a Kentucky credit union for 15 years and receiving positive performance reviews Penelope Hudson was fired, according to her lawsuit, for being a lesbian. The court documents filed Friday against the Park Community Credit Union are stunning.
Hudson's lawsuit alleges she was "passed over for promotions due to her supervisor's animus toward lesbians," and she was told to change her appearance because she was "too butch" to deal with customers. She "was called 'unprofessional' because she wore her hair short," NCRM was told. This came after she heard her supervisors talking about her appearance, saying she had to alter it to not only get promoted but to keep her job.
The court filing says "her sexual orientation was discussed with other employees and customers overheard those conversations." It also says her supervisors and co-workers talked about her sexual orientation and would "belittle" Hudson as not being a "typical woman."
One of her supervisors asked that employees at her branch pray for good numbers, but noted that Hudson, the lawsuit alleges, doesn't believe in God since she is gay. "Because you’re gay, you don’t believe in God," they said, NCRM was told.
Hudson's lawsuit also says that when a client at a business event sexually harassed her by flirting, trying to kiss her, and repeatedly asking for her phone number despite her turning him down, she complained to the Vice President of Human Resources. The VP responded, "well we see if the gay thing doesn't work out you can also go the other way."
After being cleared to take time off via the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a federal law, for in-vitro fertilization she was asked why. When she questioned being asked, "she was told that they needed to insure it wasn't for something related to her being gay."
Hudson is being represented by the Fauver Law Office in Louisville, Kentucky. According to Freedom for All Americans, "Shannon Fauver, who is filing the case, was one of the lawyers whose cases (Bourke v. Beshear and Love v. Beshear) secured the freedom to marry in Kentucky and were ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2015."
Hudson says she is "heartbroken that this happened – I loved my job and I was good at my job, and I loved the members that I dealt with every day. I gave my heart and soul to this company, and then I was fired for no other reason than that I am gay. That is hard to believe, and I’m filing this case because I want this company to know that this is not OK."
"I never want any other LGBT person to be treated the way I was treated," Hudson says.
"After being passed over for promotions and even being demoted, Park Community Credit Union ultimately fired Penelope in September 2016," Freedom for All Americans writes. "Months before she was ultimately fired, she received a positive performance review and she still gets questions from longtime credit union members about why they don’t see her at work anymore."
The lawsuit cites Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the discrimination suit.
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Image via Freedom for All Americans, used with permission