Former athletic trainer Scott Kerr, 62, has filed a civil rights lawsuit against Drake University, alleging that he was wrongly fired because of two medical issues that caused him to urinate in an empty tub in one of Drake’s training rooms.
The lawsuit was filed Sept. 25 in Polk County. Kerr seeks unspecified damages for discrimination based on age, disability and gender.
Crawford Mauro is the law firm representing Kerr.
“Kerr initially filed a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission in November of last year,” read Crawford Mauro’s statement. “The Iowa Civil Rights Commission found the facts and information in Kerr’s case supported a ‘reasonable possibility that further investigation will result in a determination of probable cause to believe discrimination occurred.’”
According to Kerr, on Aug. 29 of last year, he was washing dirty water coolers in an empty tub in a training room when he felt the urgent need to urinate.
Kerr, knowing that he would not be able to get to the bathroom in time because of his two diagnosed medical issues – an enlarged prostate and neutrally mediated syncope, which requires him to drink a lot of water – urinated in the tub.
The Drake women’s tennis coach, Mai-Ly Tran, then entered the room. The two of them met two days later and Kerr explained to her the situation. Tran suggested that Kerr report the matter to Sandy Hatfield Clubb, the athletic director at the time.
According to the lawsuit, when Hatfield Clubb and Kerr met the next day, she suggested that Kerr should have urinated in his pants like she once did in an airport when traveling on university business.
Allegedly, Hatfield Clubb told Kerr that he was unfit to continue as Drake’s head trainer and told Kerr that he should “go out with dignity” by resigning. The day after, Drake’s legal counsel informed Kerr that he was being fired immediately.
“Before closing its file at Mr. Kerr’s request, we are pleased that the Iowa Civil Rights Commission found no reasonable possibility that discrimination occurred based on age or gender, while determining that the sole remaining claim of alleged disability discrimination would be investigated further,” read a statement from Jarad Bernstein, Drake’s Director of Public Relations. “By filing this lawsuit, Mr. Kerr effectively ended the administrative review before the Commission completed its investigation into that claim, and therefore the Commission made no finding that discrimination occurred. Mr. Kerr’s decision to file a lawsuit in no way indicates which way a court will decide the matter.”
In November 2016, Drake also stated that “Mr. Kerr was terminated for his decision to urinate in a training room whirlpool that is utilized by the student athletes under his care, and for his failure to report that behavior until the female colleague who witnessed his behavior insisted that the matter be reported two days later. Mr. Kerr did not request an accommodation for any medical condition prior to the events in question nor prior to the termination decision being made by Drake University.”
“We remain confident that our position will be affirmed in court,” said Bernstein in his statement.
Kerr was Drake’s head athletic trainer for 31 years before his termination in September 2016.