A Kentucky federal lawsuit claiming religious discrimination against the University of Kentucky by a former professor has been settled prior to reaching a jury trial. The case was in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and the judge had ruled there was enough evidence for the case to go to a jury trial.
The allegations of the case were that Professor Martin Gaskell was considered to be the top candidate for UK's director of it new observatory, until the University became concerned about Gaskell's religious beliefs and how he coupled such with scientific beliefs.
UK has agreed to pay Gaskell $125,000.00 to settle the case. This is the equivalent of nearly two years salary for Gaskell, who has since found other employment.
In Kentucky, people who believe that they have been discriminated against in the workplace can file suit under federal anti-discrimination laws or under the Kentucky Civil Rights Act (KRS 344.010 et seq.) There claims are viewed under a multi-prong test which establishes the evidence and shifts burdens of proof. Discrimination cases can be very difficult and hard fought because in most cases they boil down to conflicting testimonies of what really happened and why it happened. Many times, employers will try to mask their discriminatory conduct by coming up with other reasons why they did what they did with regards to the employee. Because of such, these type of cases require a tremendous amount of time combing through documents, emails, and deposing witnesses.