DENVER (CN) – A student adviser at a Christian college says she was accused of “living in sin” and fired after getting out of the same car as a co-worker. They had gone for coffee and donuts.
Ashlie Simpson sued Colorado Christian University college for privacy invasion, unlawful prohibition of legal activities and Family Medical Leave Act violations. The college is the only named defendants.
Simpson began working for the interdenominational Christian university as a student service adviser, in suburban Lakewood, in September 2009.
In June 2010, she says, “Plaintiff and Enrollment Counselor Adam Kail (‘Kail’) returned to the university, in the same car, after getting coffee and donuts.”
That Day, she says, the college’s vice president of development, Keith Writer, told her “he was concerned about plaintiff’s relationship with Kail, who was married.”
The complaint continues: “Also on June 14, 2010, Wright told plaintiff that he had discussed the alleged relationship between plaintiff and Kail with his team, which consisted of at least three (3) other employees, and stated that the team had witnessed Kail and plaintiff laughing and joking together in the office. Wright stated plaintiff was a distraction to Kail’s marriage.
“At the same meeting on June 14, 2010, Wright made it clear to plaintiff that her progression at CCU would be hindered if the ‘perception of indiscretion and disregard for the sanctity of Christian marriage’ continued.”
Simpson says she complained to her direct supervisor “about sexual harassment from Wright,” and her boss promised to talk about it to an AVP (undefined: apparently assistant vice president.)
Simpson says the college’s head of human relations later “asked about her own personal relationship [with her boyfriend] and if she was ‘living in sin.'”
The complaint states: “On February 11, 2011, plaintiff received a phone call from HR Director Stacey Vlasicak (‘Vlasicak’). Vlasicak requested plaintiff meet with her at Vlasicak’s office on Union in Lakewood.
“Vlasicak asked Simpson questions directly related to Simpson’s private life, including, but not limited to, whether Simpson was living with and having sexual relations with Simpson’s boyfriend.
“Vlasicak stated that this was potential grounds for termination and that she would speak to Rick Garis, Senior HR Director, about Simpson’s private life and what CCU would do about it.
“After the meeting on February 17, 2011, Simpson complained about the nature of the meeting to her supervisor, [central regional enrollment director Brent] Bettman.
“On February 18, 2011, Executive Assistant Kari Hill told employee Elizabeth Halsey that [new enrollment AVP Chuck] Klijweski was the one that reported Simpson to HR regarding his and other senior management’s concerns over Simpson’s ‘living circumstances.’ Hill further stated that it was ‘standard knowledge among leadership and in their VP meetings that (Simpson) was living in sin and was a situation that finally needed to be dealt with.'” (Parentheses, but not brackets, in complaint.)
Simpson claims she was transferred and then fired for pretextual reasons after requesting, and receiving FMLA leave.
She says she told the colleges Human Relations Director Rick Garris on Jan. 30 this year that she was being “retaliated against,” and “was being wrongfully terminated in violation of state statute.”
She claims: “Garris told her that ‘CCU does not have to abide by state statute.'”
He fired her that day, she says.
Simpson seeks costs and damages for lost pay, front pay, humiliation, mental anguish, loss of consortium and other charges.
She is represented by Elwyn Schaefer.