Angela McCaskill, the chief diversity officer at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., has filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing the university of violating anti-discrimination provisions of the District of Columbia Human Rights Act.
Last October McCaskill was placed on leave from her job after she had signed a petition calling for a referendum to be placed on the ballot in her home state of Maryland to decide the issue of same-sex marriage. McCaskill stated that she was not anti-gay but thought it was an issue that voters should decide. This past November, voters upheld Maryland’s same-sex marriage law.
Critics of Dr. McCaskill said that a person who opposed same sex-marriage should not hold a key position relating to diversity. But leaders on both sides of the issue argued that McCaskill should be free to exercise her First Amendment rights. In January, the president of Gallaudet University reinstated Dr. McCaskill to her post as chief diversity officer.
But in the new lawsuit, Dr. McCaskill claims she was demoted when she returned to work. She also says that after she signed the petition she was harassed in a hostile manner by a faculty member. When Dr. McCaskill complained about the harassment to the university’s president, no action was taken, according to the lawsuit.
Prior to joining the staff at Gallaudet University, Dr. McCaskill served as an educational program specialist for the U.S. Department of Education. She is a graduate of Alabama State University and holds a master’s degree from Howard University and a doctorate in special education administration from Gallaudet.