NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - A woman who came out as a lesbian was fired from her job at Ramsey Solutions, according to a lawsuit filed on Wednesday in federal court.
Julie Anne Stamps claims in the lawsuit that when she told her supervisor that she was going to come out about her sexuality, her supervisor informed her that she had to give two weeks’ notice of her intent to resign and that an exit interview would be scheduled. Stamps informed the company she would be resigning and discussed with human resources to set her last day of employment as June 19, 2020.
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On June 15, 2020, the United States Supreme Court published its opinion in Bostock vs. Clayton County, which held that discrimination based on homosexuality was discrimination “because of sex” and was prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. On mid-morning on June 15, Stamps was informed her exit interview and last day as a Ramsey employee was moved forward to the morning of June 17, and she was terminated and told that Ramsey did not agree “with that lifestyle.” After her exit interview, Stamps was escorted from the Ramsey Solutions building.
Stamps was hired by Ramsey Solutions as a Team Assistant for the customer care team in July 2019 and transitioned to the role of Assistant to the Director of Customer Care in January 2020. When she was hired, she was married to a male and was engaged in a heterosexual lifestyle.
In spring 2020, Stamps began to come to terms with her sexuality, according to the lawsuit. In particular, that she had struggled with her sexuality since she was in middle school and that she was ready to live her life in a more open and honest way. She came to terms that her sexual orientation was not that of a heterosexual, but that she was gay. As a result, Stamps’ marriage began to decline and they decided to divorce in May 2020.
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Stamps told her supervisor, Melissa Wilhoite, in mid-May 2020 that she was a lesbian and that her sexuality was a main contributor to her decision to divorce her husband. Wilhoite responded that she should “pray about it” and recommended a Christian counselor she knew had “saved” another person who had expressed a homosexual sexuality, according to the lawsuit.
After coming out to her family in June 2020, Stamps asked Wilhoite about the possibility of coming out as a lesbian to the Ramsey office. Stamps feared that her sexuality would be prohibited because if imposed its version of Christianity and “Judeo-Christian” values on its employees, in part as set forth in its “righteous living” core value. Stamps asked what would happen to employment if she told colleagues that she is a lesbian, Wilhoite responded by saying that Stamps needed to choose whether she wanted to remain employed at Ramsey Solutions or not. Wilhoite told Stamps she would not be able to bring a same-sex partner onto the Ramsey campus or tell anyone she was a lesbian or post on social media about her sexuality if she remained an employee. Stamps would have to “remain in the closet and refrain from sharing her true sexuality in the workplace.” However, hiding and lying about her sexuality would be a violation of Ramsey’s “Righteous Living” core value which condemns dishonesty and applauds integrity.
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Stamps seeks back pay and damages for lost benefits; reinstatement or front pay, compensatory damages for embarrassment, humiliation, stress, anxiety, inconvenience and loss of enjoyment of life; and attorneys’ fees and expenses.