A former choral teacher said he was fired from a Mount Sterling school after he came out as bisexual on Instagram. According to the Courier Journal, former teacher Nicholas Breiner found out one of his students was struggling with her sexuality, and then he found out the young woman was in trouble.
Young woman planned to kill herself over her sexuality
Breiner’s student told him she was a lesbian in March 2017, and she said her parents were not handling the news well. During spring break, another student texted Breiner that the young woman had sent the other student a suicide note. Breiner called the police, and they reached the girl in time.
Breiner worried other students were struggling
But this was a wakeup call for Breiner. He wondered how many of his other students were struggling with their sexuality. He also wondered if knowing one of their teachers faced the same issues would help these students.
The former teacher came out on Instagram
Breiner got on Instagram. He wrote a post about being bisexual, and how he had not planned to come out before, but wanted other people to know there was someone who understood and supported them. He had not even come out to his family before the post.
The first day back from spring break, another teacher was sent to monitor his class. Breiner was sent to the principal’s office, questioned about his sexuality and cautioned to keep quiet about it.
His teaching contract was not renewed
A month later, he found out his contract with the Montgomery County Public Schools was not being renewed. Breiner had been working as a choral teacher at J.B. McNabb Middle School.
A month and a half later, he received a letter that claimed he was let go because of his teaching style, inability to manage a classroom and his failure to post grades in a timely fashion. Breiner believes he was fired because he came out.
He filed a discrimination suit against the school system in January 2019, but the suit was dismissed by a U.S. district judge. Breiner plans to appeal the district court’s ruling.
Kentucky has no law that prohibits sexuality-based discrimination
Kentucky civil rights laws do not explicitly prohibit discrimination against people for their sexual orientation. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on religion, race, sex, national origin or color. Though this federal law does not explicitly outlaw discrimination based on sexuality either, the EEOC has ruled discrimination based on sexual preference is prohibited because it is considered discrimination based on gender.
If you have faced discrimination based on your sexuality at work, you have the right to hold your employer accountable. You can address it with your human resources department, or you may want to seek legal counsel.