CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Kanawha County woman is suing a Charleston youth center, alleging that board members there fired her because they thought she was a lesbian after looking at her Facebook profile.
In a lawsuit filed earlier this week in Kanawha Circuit Court, Jessica A. Hudson says the Bob Burdette Center's board held an emergency meeting about her "perceived sexual orientation" after they had offered her a job as executive director of the center.
The center, headquartered on West Washington Street, runs after-school programs at four locations in Charleston: Emmanuel Baptist Church; the Tiskelwah Center; West Charleston Baptist Church; and Calvary Baptist Church. The programs are for more than 200 children, ranging from kindergarten to the 12th grade, according to the lawsuit.
Hudson's lawyer, Rick Brown of the firm Bailey & Glasser, would not say what Hudson's sexual orientation is.
"That's not for me to answer," he said. "The reason she was fired is because she was perceived as being a lesbian. Whether she is or not is immaterial."
Hudson applied for the executive director position May 26, the lawsuit says. The center got 12 applications for the job and picked seven people to be interviewed by a three-member search committee.
The committee interviewed Hudson on June 1, according to the lawsuit.
"That interview went so well and the Search Committee was so impressed by Ms. Hudson's qualifications and enthusiasm that its members agreed that, rather than select three ... job candidates for the second-round interview as they were charged to do, Ms. Hudson should be the only applicant to advance to the second interview stage," the lawsuit states.
The full board interviewed Hudson on June 13 and members unanimously voted to offer her the job, the lawsuit states. The board's president called Hudson hours after the interview to tell her.
Hudson accepted and said she would need to give her employer two weeks' notice before leaving, according to the lawsuit. She quit her job and was set to start June 29 at the Bob Burdette Center. The lawsuit does not state whether she signed an employment contract or not.
According to the lawsuit, the board held an emergency meeting June 19 to discuss her sexual orientation. The next day, the board's president and treasurer called Hudson "and informed her that her job 'offer' was 'rescinded' because of purported 'inconsistencies' in her résumé and 'misrepresentations' allegedly made by Ms. Hudson at her interview with the Board," the lawsuit says.