Former coach suing Notre Dame for gender discrimination
A woman who was an associate coach for the swimming team has filed a federal lawsuit against the University of Notre Dame alleging gender and pregnancy discrimination as well as retaliation, according to court records.
April Jensen is seeking damages and equitable relief.
Jensen alleges she notified her supervisor in May 2019 she was pregnant and was visibly pregnant when she returned in the fall of 2019.
Before she went on maternity leave, her supervisor ignored her during meets, made judgmental comments about her maternity plan and criticized her work, the suit alleges.
After she returned from maternity leave, Jensen was asked to assist with a different group of athletes, the mid-distance stroke athletes, which she felt was a demotion because she was assisting a volunteer coach.
She said while she was still the sprinters' coach, she wasn't allowed to run the practice, or if she was allowed to, her supervisor would take over when he was done with other practices, the suit said.
When she had a health issue and called off sick, she alleges her supervisor asked her to take over a practice the following day, which she said was an unusual request. Two days later her supervisor had a meeting with her and the assistant athletic director.
Her supervisor alleged she had only showed up for 4 days of practice and disappeared during meets.
Jensen responded she had to take multiple trips to the bathroom to pump breastmilk, the suit said.
Jensen took family leave at the end of January for health issues related to her pregnancy.
In February and March, Jensen reported discriminatory treatment to officials at the university, the suit said.
She did not hear from the university regarding her complaints until she had a zoom call with her supervisor and the assistant athletic director. During the call she was notified her contract would not be terminated, Jensen said in her suit.
Her supervisor said the termination was based on the last three years and had nothing to do with her coaching or her relationship with athletes, the suit alleges.
Jensen also alleges she was paid approximately $20,000 less than a male associate head coach. The suit alleges they worked the same number of hours, recruited players and coached the same number of athletes.
Jensen is suing for loss of wages and benefits, emotional pain and suffering, humiliation, embarrassment, damage to her reputation, out of pocket expenses and attorneys fees.
We contacted the university for comment. They replied, "Because this is pending litigation, we have no comment."