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Barrett v. Fontbonne Academy

Victory

Overview

Victory! In a first-of-its-kind decision, the Massachusetts Superior Court judge ruled that Fontbonne Academy, a Catholic girls’ high school, discriminated against Matthew Barrett on the basis of sexual orientation and sex when it rescinded its offer of the job of food services manager to him because he is married to another man. The court ruled that Fontbonne had clearly and directly violated the Massachusetts nondiscrimination law; was not exempt from the law; and had no constitutional defenses against its discriminatory conduct. Read more

Fontbonne elected not to appeal this ruling, and a final resolution was reached with a settlement for Matt.

Case Background

GLAD has filed a complaint against Fontbonne Academy, a religiously affiliated college preparatory school in Milton, MA, after the school terminated a man they had just hired as Food Services Director upon learning he was gay and married to another man.

The complaint was originally filed with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) on January 30, 2014, and was subsequently moved on May 28 to Massachusetts Superior Court, where the case is now proceeding. Read the complaint filed in Superior Court here.

The complaint charges that in terminating Matt Barrett’s employment, Fontbonne Academy discriminated against him based on his sex and sexual orientation.

Barrett, a longtime food industry professional, was offered the Food Services Director position on July 9, 2013. After accepting the position, he filled out the school’s employment paperwork, including a form that required him to list an emergency contact and state that person’s relationship to him. Barrett gave a truthful answer and listed his husband, Ed Suplee.

The next day, Barrett was contacted by the school and asked to come in for another meeting. At that meeting he learned that the school would no longer employ him because he was gay and married to a man.

GLAD asserts that in firing Barrett from a job having nothing to do with religion, Fontbonne Academy is in violation of the Commonwealth’s non-discrimination law.

Mr. Barrett is represented by GLAD attorneys Bennett Klein and Gary Buseck, with attorney John Ward.

Boston Globe: Gay married man says Catholic school rescinded job offer

Matt Barrett was born and raised in a Catholic family, and lives in Dorchester with his husband, Ed Suplee. He has worked in the food services industry for 20 years in positions of increasing responsibility, at restaurants, with corporate catering services, and in public schools.

“If I’m planning and making meals for students, I’m not sure what my being gay has to do with the job,” Matt says  “I’ve always done well in my work, and was excited about working at Fontbonne.  All I did was fill out the form honestly.”