New details about Rutgers AD Julie Hermann emerge as Ginger Hineline’s lawsuit against Tennessee goes public

Matt Sugam

Photo credit: USA Today

Photo credit: USA Today

As Julie Hermann continues to weather a media firestorm that has engulfed her, questions about the lawsuit filed against Tennessee by Ginger Hineline have risen. Hineline was fired as an assistant volleyball coach from Tennessee – where Hermann was the head coach – in 1997 and filed a discrimination lawsuit stating she was fired because she got pregnant.

Hineline ultimately was awarded $150,000 after the jury determined she was due to unlawful pregnancy discrimination.

Now, details of Ginger Hineline v. the University of Tennessee have emerged as obtained the lawsuit through a publics record request.

Hermann allegedly “discouraged” Hineline from getting pregnant in the lawsuit filed January 26, 1995. Hinlene was fired three months after telling Hermann that she was pregnant.

Because of damages for front- and back-pay along with “humiliation and embarrassment caused by’’ the university’s “discriminatory’’ actions, Hineline was looking to be paid $750,000.

“On or near Feb. 2, 1995, plaintiff [Hineline] met with [Tennessee athletic director] Joan Cronan to discuss her termination. Head coach Hermann was also present at this meeting,’’ the complaint states. “During the meeting plaintiff informed Director Cronan that she believed she was being terminated because of her pregnancy. Immediately following the meeting, Hermann told plaintiff that she felt plaintiff had become pregnant to ‘spite her.’’’

During the trial, Hinline testified that she asked Hermann if she would lose her job if she were to get pregnant to which Hermann responded, “I hope it doesn’t come to that.” Hineline testified that she felt Hermann pressured her to choose to be a coach or start a family.

Tennessee argued that they did not know of Hineline’s pregnancy when she was fired and Hermann a witnesses for the university.

A month after the verdict, a memorandum was filed. Judge Robert Murrian did not allow for a new trial saying there was a “clear resolution’’ from the first one.

The lawsuit also mentions the video from Hineline’s wedding where Hermann says, “I don’t want you to come back in February with any surprises, you know, in the office and all, and it would be hard to have a baby in there and babysitting.”

Murrian says the statement was made in jest, however Hinline did not believe that was the case.

“The videotape and statements made by Hermann were substantial proof that Coach Hermann did not want plaintiff to become pregnant — at least not in 1994,” is what Murrian decided.

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