Shelly Fitzgerald.jpeg

Shelly Fitzgerald

Shelly Fitzgerald, the suspended Roncalli High School guidance counselor, officially filed a charge of discrimination Jan. 7 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Fitzgerald, along with her attorney, David Page, first announced they were planning to proceed with such litigation against Roncalli High School and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis at a press conference in November 2018.

In August 2018, Fitzgerald was placed on administrative leave after school officials received a copy of her marriage license showing her spouse was her wife, Victoria. They had been married four years and together for over 20.

In the months since, she has seen students, parents, and supporters across the country rise in solidarity with her cause. A few weeks after the controversy broke, Fitzgerald appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where $25,000 was donated to the new Shelly's Voice Advocacy Group. Groups including DignityUSA, Indiana Youth Group, and New Ways Ministry have rushed to her defense.

In the meantime, another Roncalli High School guidance counselor, Lynn Starkey, announced that she also was filing a charge of discrimination for similar reasons.

To date, both women remain employed at Roncalli High School, however, Starkey, was allowed to remain in her position and continue her duties at the school, according to a Monday press release.

Starkey has worked at the school for over two decades. Like Fitzgerald, she is also a gay woman, and has been in a civil union with her spouse since 2015.

Upon receipt, the EEOC will begin an investigation into the allegations and make a determination on the merits of the charges. The average time it takes the EEOC to investigate and resolve a charge is about 10 months. Once a determination is made by the EEOC, Fitzgerald will have 90 days to decide whether to file suit in federal court, according to the release.

In the filing, Fitzgerald alleges that the school and church's actions constitute a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 USC 2000e.

Rob Burgess, News Editor at NUVO, can be reached by email at rburgess@nuvo.net, by phone at 317-808-4614 or on Twitter @robaburg.

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