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Case arguing against the termination of a school superintendent because he is gay


In 2004, Richard Mitchell interviewed for the position of superintendent of Bremen Community High School District No. 228 in Chicago. Following his interview, school board member Evelyn Gleason encouraged the board not to hire him because he is gay. But the board chose to hire Mitchell and in 2005 extended his three-year contract. Soon after, Gleason became president of the school board and was able to do what she’d always wanted: get rid of Mitchell. When Mitchell notified the board that he intended to pursue his rights under local laws prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination, Gleason retaliated by trumping up false allegations against Mitchell in the media. He was suspended and later fired. Lambda Legal filed a complaint charging that Gleason’s and the school board’s actions are illegal under the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance.

The Commission found evidence that Mitchell was discriminated against based on sexual orientation during his employment and that the school district improperly fired him when he asserted his rights under the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance.

Lambda Legal’s involvement in the case has ended.

    • December 2006 Lambda Legal files sexual orientation discrimination complaint with the Cook County Human Rights Commission.
    • July 2010 The Cook County Human Rights Commission finds “substantial evidence” of sexual orientation discrimination.