A former athletic trainer for Drake University has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Des Moines school, alleging he was wrongly fired because of a medical disability that caused him to urinate in a tub.
Scott Kerr, 62, of Urbandale was the school’s head athletic trainer for 31 years before he was fired last September.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in Polk County District Court, seeks unspecified damages for discrimination based on age, disability and gender.
The university has yet to file a response to the lawsuit but has said that it does not comment on personnel matters.
In his lawsuit, Kerr claims he has two diagnosed medical issues that cause frequent and sudden urination — an enlarged prostate and a condition called neutrally mediated syncope that requires him to consume large amounts of water.
He alleges that on Aug. 29, 2016, he was cleaning out dirty water coolers in an empty tub while working in a Drake University training room and had a sudden urge to urinate.
Knowing he wouldn’t be able to make it to the bathroom in time, Kerr urinated into the tub, at which point Drake’s women’s tennis coach, Mai-Ly Tran, entered the room.
Two days later, Kerr and Tran met and Kerr explained the situation, at which point Tran asked Kerr to report the matter to his supervisor.
Kerr did so, and the next day, he met with Sandy Hatfield Clubb, Drake’s athletic director at the time, and again explained his medical condition.
According to the lawsuit, Hatfield Clubb suggested that Kerr should have urinated in his pants, indicating she once did so while in an airport and traveling on university business.
She allegedly went on to tell Kerr he was unfit to continue as the school’s head trainer but wanted him to “leave with dignity,” so she would allow him to remain on staff for a few months while training his replacement.
The next day, the school’s legal counsel informed Kerr he was being terminated immediately.
Kerr’s claim of gender discrimination is based on the allegation that Hatfield Clubb urinated in her pants while employed by Drake, failed to report the matter to her superiors and, unlike Kerr, was never fired.
Hatfield Clubb left Drake in August to accept a job with an intercollegiate athletics consulting firm.
Kerr served as Drake’s head athletic trainer since his hiring in July 1985. He oversaw a staff of six certified athletic trainers that was responsible for the health of 375 student-athletes in 18 NCAA Division I sports.
The lawsuit follows a review of the case by the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, which issued a right-to-sue letter in August, enabling Kerr to take his case to court.