Searsport lesbian couple files discrimination suit

Searsport lesbian couple files discrimination suit

 The Associated Press

BELFAST — A lesbian couple has sued their employers in federal court alleging they were discriminated against by their bosses because of their sexual orientation.

Shelly Flood of Searsport says in the suit filed March 29 that she received bonuses and positive evaluations from her supervisors while working at the Bank of America in Belfast until her boss found out she was a lesbian. Her treatment “changed suddenly and dramatically from cordial to hostile,” according to the suit.

Her partner, Keri Flood of Searsport, worked for the company that cleaned the bank, ABM Janitorial Services-Northeast Inc. The suit alleges the company also treated her well and gave her recommendations until it found out about her sexual orientation; then it fired her.

Bank of America and ABM both tol the Bangor Daily News that the allegations are not true.

“We are reviewing the complaint but believe the allegations are without merit,” Bank of America said in a statement. “Bank of America is committed to maintaining a workplace free of discrimination and harassment, a workplace where differences — in thought, style, culture, ethnicity and experience, including sexual orientation — help to make us stronger as a company.”

Bank of America and ABM Janitorial Services-Northeast, Inc. have until next week to respond to the complaint, which was filed by the plaintiffs’ attorney Marshall Tinkle of Portland, according to the Daily News.

Before filing a lawsuit, Keri and Shelly Flood each filed a discrimination charge with the Maine Human Rights Commission, the Daily News reported.

The commission sent them right-to-sue letters on Nov. 29, 2011, which typically happens if the commission has not been able to investigate a complaint within 180 days of one being filed.

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