Judge won't delay Tracey Griesbaum trial

Employment discrimination case could take parts of three weeks

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A Polk County judge will not postpone the employment discrimination trial of a fired University of Iowa field hockey coach.

Tracey Griesbaum’s civil trial against the UI, the Iowa Board of Regents and the state is to start June 5, despite the UI’s request earlier this week to delay the trial.

“Counsel and the court explored other dates in July and August 2017, but there were no other three-week periods available for all attorneys and the court during that time, based on previously scheduled trials and commitments,” Judge Eliza Ovrom wrote in an order issued Friday.

“The court finds that the motion to continue should be denied. Defendants have not shown they will not be prejudiced by a short break in the trial.”

Griesbaum, 51, fired by the UI in 2014 after several student-athletes complained of verbal abuse, is suing her former employer for gender and sexual orientation discrimination.

Her lawsuit, filed in March 2016, claims gender bias in the Athletic Department causes a double standard by which female coaches must monitor their language and worry about keeping students and parents happy, while male coaches are allowed to “yell, curse, threaten, throw things, be ejected from games and push student athletes to the edge of their abilities even if it sometimes results in injury.”

A Polk County jury awarded Griesbaum’s partner, Jane Meyer, 57, $1.4 million May 4 for similar claims after Meyer was transferred from her position as an associate athletic director in December 2014 and later fired.

Assistant Attorney General George Carroll, representing the UI, filed a motion Tuesday requesting a delay in Griesbaum’s trial, saying the three-week Meyer trial had shown the 10 days scheduled for Griesbaum’s case wouldn’t be enough time. Ovrom previously had indicated she might have conflicts the week of June 19-23, causing breaks in the trial should it extend into a third week. Her order Friday said she would only need to be away the afternoon of June 20 and June 21.

“The trial can also continue past that week if necessary,” Ovrom wrote.

l Comments: (319) 339-3157; erin.jordan@thegazette.com

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