Former Women’s Soccer Coach Is Suing BC for Gender Discrimination and Improper Wiretapping — The Heights

Former Women’s Soccer Coach Is Suing BC for Gender Discrimination and Improper Wiretapping — The Heights

Former Boston College women’s soccer coach Alison Foley is suing the University for gender discrimination and improper wiretapping after allegedly being forced to resign in 2018 following her record-setting 22 seasons. In the lawsuit, which was filed in November 2020, Foley alleges that she was dismissed from BC “for advocating on behalf of herself and her female student athletes to be treated fairly and equitably.”

In the suit, Foley alleges that BC held her to a different standard than it held male coaches, specifically concerning her contract status and the way that athletics department members dealt with complaints about her leadership style from student-athletes. 

Foley’s lawsuit alleges that the University broke the first and fourth clause of Massachusetts General Laws, Title XXI, Chapter 151B, Section 4 by insisting on single-year contracts and forcing her dismissal. The two clauses protect workers from being discriminated against as a result of their membership in a variety of demographic groups, including gender, and ban employers from threatening or firing workers for lodging a complaint in response to discrimination. 

Though her removal from the University was publicly called a resignation, Foley alleges in the suit how then-athletics director Martin Jarmond and University Vice President for Human Resources David Trainor called her into a meeting on Dec. 10, just over a month after the conclusion of the 2018 season, and gave her the choice of resigning or being fired because the “whole team” had complained about her leadership.

Trainor allegedly told Foley that he had a file on her relating to concerns around her team culture and referenced two specific events: a report that she had “pitted two players against each other” during practice and that she had sounded drunk during a phone call with a student-athlete. 

Foley alleges that Trainor did not offer any more details about the forced competition between the two student-athletes at practice.

The student-athlete who made the phone call, Kayla Jennings, played at BC from 2016 to 2019 and allegedly called Foley after getting out of an evening class on campus while Foley was at home. Foley says in the lawsuit that it is possible she had a glass of wine on the night in question, but she denies wholeheartedly that she was drunk.

Jennings recorded the call, unbeknownst to Foley, and provided it to Jarmond who reviewed it along with Trainor and then-senior associate athletics director and senior woman administrator Jocelyn Gates, prior to the decision to terminate Foley, according to the lawsuit. The wilful use of a recording taken without the consent of the other party is considered a crime in Massachusetts. 

Thomas Newkirk, one of Foley’s attorneys, told The Heights that Jennings is not a defendant in the case because there is “no point” in suing a student-athlete. He also spoke to Foley’s coaching style, and said that nothing significant happened on the call.

“Nothing transpired,” Newkirk said. “Coach Foley … [has] always exhibited behavior at all times that was not just meeting the basic standards of what you would expect of a coach in college but exceeding that. And everybody knows this.”  

Jennings did not respond to repeated requests for comment, and Gates declined a request for comment.

Senior Associate Athletics Director for Communications Jason Baum said that the University could not comment on the matter, as the lawsuit is still ongoing. 

Foley also denies that she had ever been informed prior to the Dec. 10 meeting that there were concerns about her drinking. In the lawsuit, she counters that male head coaches frequently drank much more than she did. She specifically mentions then-head men’s soccer coach Ed Kelly, who she alleges drank on team flights.

Kelly did not respond to multiple requests for comment. 

Foley alleges that she was not allowed to defend herself at the meeting, and was told by Trainor that “the decision was made” to fire her and gave her the option to resign or be fired. Trainor allegedly said that if Foley “wanted to go after them, BC would make it real ugly for her” and that she “would never get another job again in coaching.”

Credit: Source link