PINEVILLE, LA (WAFB) - A man is suing Louisiana College after he says he was denied a position at the school because of his "Jewish blood," reports CBS affiliate, KALB.
Joshua Bonadona applied for the position of defensive backs coach at Louisiana College and says his civil rights were violated when he was not hired due to having Jewish ancestry. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday, February 21 in the United States District Court for the Western District.
Bonadona, who is from Baton Rouge, was born into a Jewish family. The lawsuit says his mother is "Jewish, both radically and religiously."
Back in 2009 to 2010, Bonadona transferred to Louisiana College to play football for the school and continue his education. He says he converted to Christianity while at the school. In 2013, just before graduating, he was hired by the school as an assistant football coach as a co-special teams coordinator and assistant defensive backs coach. Then in 2015, he left that position to get a graduate degree and coaching job at Southeast Missouri State University.
In 2017, Justin Charles was named head coach at Louisiana College and reached out to Bonadona to come back to the school as a defensive backs coach for the football team. Bonadona says he applied for the job in May of 2017.
Bonadona says in his application, he identified himself as a Baptist. He claims when he was interviewed for the job in 2017, Dr. Rick Brewer, the university's president, asked him about his parents' religious affiliations. Bondona told Brewer his father was Catholic and his mother was Jewish.
Bonadona says he repeatedly made it clear he's a practicing member of the Christian faith. He also claims Charles made a full recommendation to hire him and told him "the position was his and only needed to get final approval of Dr. Brewer as a formality." Bonadona claims he was the best qualified candidate for the job and based upon assurances from Charles, quit his job in Missouri.
About a week after his interview, Bonadona says Charles called him and said "despite the recommendation to Dr. Brewer, Louisiana College had decided not to hire Mr. Bonadona because of his 'Jewish descent.'" Bonadona says Charles told him "that Dr. Brewer refused to approve Mr. Bonadona's hiring because of what Dr. Brewer called Mr. Bonadona's 'Jewish blood.'"
In the lawsuit, Bonadona is seeking all available damages, including backpay, lost benefits, costs associated with obtaining a new job, general damages, punitive damages, reasonable attorney's fees, and costs.
KALB reached out to Louisiana College for comment. An attorney with the school provided the following statement: