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Drake accused of sexual discrimination in federal lawsuit

Head coach Jennie Baranczyk is being sued, along with Drake, due to allegations of a wrongful resignation by a former assistant coach.

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Jennie Baranczyk Baron Cao

A federal lawsuit was filed on Friday, Dec. 23 against Drake University and head coach Jennie Baranczyk, by former assistant coach Courtney Graham in the U.S District Court in Des Moines. As reported by the Des Moines Register, Graham is claiming after Baranczyk learned she was gay, six months later she was forced into quitting – a violation of Iowa’s anti-discrimination law.

The university and Baranczyk are being accused of violating the Iowa Civil Rights Act, negligence, retaliation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and harassment; neither defendant has filed a formal response in court yet.

The Des Moines Register reported Graham said in the lawsuit, her sexual orientation and mental health (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, per the lawsuit) became a topic of gossip around the office which was started by Baranczyk.

Graham’s lawsuit makes the allegation that she brought her now-wife, Kristal Flowers to a home game at Drake in Nov. of 2014. It was later in that month Baranczyk dismissed Graham for the rest of the day claiming “she was not acting like herself,” as stated by the Des Moines Register. Other allegations included Graham being excluded from team meetings, scouting trips, and sent home without explanation.

"After discovery of plaintiff's sexual orientation, she was subjected to hostile interactions on the job and the subject of inter-office slander, speculation and gossip related to her sexual orientation," the lawsuit said according to the Des Moines Register report.

Other claims in the lawsuit state Baranczyk initially asked Graham to resign on May 14, 2015, without a formal reason of why. Graham submitted her resignation letter on June 5, 2015, after feeling “pressured through text messages and emails from her former boss to quit as an assistant coach.

Even further, Graham has run into trouble finding a similar job based on “negative information” giving to potential employers from Drake, per the lawsuit, according to the report by the Des Moines Register.

More as the story develops.