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Chicagoan alleges discrimination by Nashville employer
by Matt Simonette
2019-05-11

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A Chicago man has sued his former employer in federal court, alleging that he was dismissed from his pharmaceutical research position after he came out to co-workers.

Researcher Guy Stehley alleges that he was dismissed from Nashville-based Sarah Cannon Research Institute ( SCRI ) because of his sexual orientation and age. He was employed by SCRI from Oct. 2016-June 2017.

According to a suit filed in November 2018 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Stehley was both subjected to unreasonable work expectations and routinely ignored by colleagues after he came out to them in Feb. 2017. He is now asking for compensatory and punitive damages, and other forms of relief from the court.

SCRI attorneys are asking the court to dismiss Stehley's claim in a hearing the morning of May 16.

"I was stressed," Stehley said. "I was overworked, and my boyfriend at the time was worried about me. … I have seven documented instances where I was treated differently than my straight colleagues."

According to Stehley, after he went to work at SCRI, he and a supervisor determined that he'd been given one-and-a-half times the normal workload of a full-time employee. The company was slow to rectify the matter, and it was only exacerbated after he came out to colleagues and superiors, Stehley alleges. He additionally maintains that a superior moved their office to more closely surveil Stehley's work activities.

Stehley said that he's pursuing the case for three reasons: "Number one, it's wrong; number two, I want this to be broadcast so that if anybody in that company—or any company—feels the same way, they'll stand up; and a distant third is a monetary settlement."

In a statement to Windy City Times, SCRI's Chicago attorney, Craig Thorstenson, said, "My client fosters a culture of inclusion, compassion and respect, including non-discrimination policies that support LGBTQ+ individuals. We disagree with the allegations Mr. Stehley has made, will defend our position and look forward to presenting our side through the legal process."

SCRI's motion to dismiss the case will be heard Thursday, May 16, at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse, 219 S. Dearborn St., Rm. 1203, at 9:30 a.m.


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