OAKLAND -- A former Livermore football coach and English teacher claims he was harassed and fired from his coaching job because he is gay.
According to a lawsuit filed in Alameda County Superior Court, Burke Wallace -- the head varsity football coach at Livermore Valley Charter Prep High School in 2012 -- alleges his supervisors discriminated against him after he mentioned "in passing" that he had a husband.
The school, the Tri-Valley Learning Corporation, and a number of John Does are named in the suit.
"He was wrongfully terminated because of his sexual orientation, and the (school's) administration is responsible for that," said John Furstenthal, Wallace's attorney. "They may try to come up with all these different excuses, but I don't think they'll hold water in court."
Furstenthal said Wallace's sexuality was no secret and that some parents and administrators objected to him coaching the team. The suit claims Wallace's supervisors openly discussed his orientation and "how it was a bad idea having a gay football coach."
According to court documents, Wallace was fired from his coaching duties this spring and was forced to leave his teaching job as a result of harassment and stress. Wallace could not be reached for comment.
Derek Austin, attorney for the Tri-Valley Learning Corporation -- the nonprofit that operates the charter school -- said he hadn't seen the lawsuit and had no immediate comment on the matter.
Wallace is suing for discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation, failure to prevent discrimination, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and breach of contract. He is seeking an undetermined amount in lost wages and future salary, general and noneconomic damages, attorney fees and punitive damages.
Contact Jeremy Thomas at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/jet_bang.