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Park School settles sex discrimination suit involving male softball coach

Park School of Baltimore will pay $41,000 to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of a former male softball coach who says he was let go because the school wanted a female coach instead.

The Pikesville private school will also implement a policy prohibiting gender discrimination and provide training on federal anti-discrimination laws, according to a Tuesday news release from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which filed the suit.

The Park School hired Richard Schneider as head softball coach in the spring of 2014, according to the lawsuit, and renewed his contract in 2015 and 2016. But the next year — despite a satisfactory job performance — the school told the coach it would not renew his contract for the 2017 softball season because of its “preference for female leadership,” the lawsuit said.

The EEOC argues this alleged conduct violated Title VII, which prohibits sex-based discrimination.

“Title VII protects both men and women from unequal treatment based on gender,” EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence said in a statement. “We are pleased the Park School worked with us to resolve this quickly, fairly and without incurring unnecessary litigation expenses.”

In addition to the monetary damages paid to the coach, the school entered into a two-year agreement to resolve the lawsuit. It prohibits the Park School from discriminating based on gender in the future.

Park School officials sent a letter to the school community about the case Tuesday. Head of School Dan Paradis said school officials “steadfastly deny” Schneider’s allegation and maintain that it did not violate Title VII.

But, he said, Park agreed to settle the case to avoid the time and expense of more litigation.

“The Park School fully supports Title VII and equal opportunities for all people,” he wrote. “The school does not discriminate against employees or applicants for employment on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic ori­gin, religion, ancestry, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, marital status, or any physical or mental disability.”

trichman@baltsun.com

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