DES MOINES, Iowa -- Scott Kerr is now taking his case against his former employer to a court of law. Blake Hanson, an attorney helping represent Kerr said, "Scott was widely recognized as one of the most respected individuals in Drake University athletics history."
Kerr's three decades of service as head athletic trainer ended unceremoniously last fall. "We are alleging age, disability and gender and we feel we have a strong case on all of those fronts.," said Hanson.
The twelve page petition filed Monday against Drake University says Kerr was wrongfully terminated after a medical condition caused him to urinate in an empty whirlpool tub a year ago. Hanson said, "He was told by the former athletic director that he should have urinated his pants as she had done."
Kerr's lawyers at Des Moines' Crawford and Mauro are confident the lawsuit has merit after a complaint with the Iowa civil rights commission was filed in November. "They felt after gathering facts and evidence that there was enough evidence that there was a reasonable possibility further investigation may result in determination of probable cause that a discrimination occurred," said Hanson.
Drake University responded to the lawsuit saying quote " Mr. Kerr was terminated for his decision to urinate in a training room whirlpool that is utilized by the student athletes under his care, and for his failure to report that behavior until the female colleague who witnessed his behavior insisted that the matter be reported two days later."
Sandy Hatfield-Clubb left her post as Athletics Director in August. Kerr's lawyers could not comment on if this case played any role in her stepping down but they believe the amount of coaches that were fired under her reign should be telling. "There had been ten head coaching changes just since 2013. We believe Scott was terminated illegally and a rash decision was made."
A decision Kerr's attorneys believe was not in-line with the unwavering service Kerr was known for. Hanson said, "For somebody who for all of those years helped student-athletes with serious medical conditions and health issues, when it was time for Drake to return the favor and help Scott, they fired him." said Hanson.
Kerr had previously filed a civil rights complaint against Drake University. Kerr's attorneys say the Iowa Civil Rights Commission found there was reason to believe that further investigation would reveal that Kerr was discriminated against by Drake.
Drake University issued the following statement in response to Kerr's lawsuit:
"Before closing its file at Mr. Kerr’s request, we are pleased that the Iowa Civil Rights Commission found no reasonable possibility that discrimination occurred based on age or gender, while determining that the sole remaining claim of alleged disability discrimination would be investigated further. By filing this lawsuit, Mr. Kerr effectively ended the administrative review before the Commission completed its investigation into that claim, and therefore the Commission made no finding that discrimination occurred. Mr. Kerr’s decision to file a lawsuit in no way indicates which way a court will decide the matter.
As we stated publicly in late November 2016, Mr. Kerr was terminated for his decision to urinate in a training room whirlpool that is utilized by the student athletes under his care, and for his failure to report that behavior until the female colleague who witnessed his behavior insisted that the matter be reported two days later. Mr. Kerr did not request an accommodation for any medical condition prior to the events in question nor prior to the termination decision being made by Drake University.
We remain confident that our position will be affirmed in court."