Industry News

Kansas brokerage sued over alleged discrimination

Denies charges that former gay employee was sexually harassed

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The former marketing director of Coldwell Banker Americana has sued the Hutchinson, Kan., company and its office manager, Laurie Scofield, for breach of the company's internal policy forbidding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Kansas does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Instead, Tim Watchous, who is gay, is suing the company for breach of contract and Scofield for improper interference with a contract by sexually harassing him. According to the lawsuit, Coldwell Banker's handling of the alleged harassment and its firing of Watchous breached the contract allegedly created by the company's own anti-discrimination and harassment policies. Jay F. Fowler, attorney at Foulston Siefkin LLP, in Wichita, Kan., who represents both Scofield and Coldwell Banker Americana, said that "many of the allegations are just plain wrong" and both "plan to vigorously defend against the claims." The defendants have answered the complaint, and the case is cur...