An employee of the Social Security Administration who was fired after refusing to watch a training video has claimed he was discriminated against.
David Hall, 42, had worked for the federal agency at its Champaign, Illinois office for 14 years, as an area systems coordinator.
But the employee came into conflict with his employer over routine diversity training, which included a 17-minute training video on how to cater for LGBT people.
Mr Hall refused to take part in the mandatory training, citing his Christian beliefs.
His supervisor gave him direct orders to watch it on June 2 and again on June 24, and he was suspended without pay on August 15-16 after ignoring the instructions.
Mr Hall is now planning to sue the SSA for allegedly “discriminating” against him if he loses his job.
He said: “I’m not going to give up my faith or compromise my beliefs just to go along and get along. I don’t believe God wants me to do that.
“I’m not judging the LGBT community… but I believe tolerance is a two-way street.
“Unfortunately, I believe they’re wrong. But neither of us should lose our jobs or livelihood for our beliefs.
“For me, I know I’m not a martyr or a bigot. I’m not asking for anyone’s approval or forgiveness; I’m simply trying to live out my life, my faith and be obedient to the will of God.”
Doug Nguyen of the SSA told the Illinois News-Gazette: “In support of an inclusive work environment, as well as exemplary customer service, the Social Security Administration recently announced diversity and inclusion training on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Community to our employees.
“This mandatory video training reminds our employees of their responsibility, as representatives of the agency, to provide the highest levels of service to our customers.
“The training includes a brief session on tips for increasing cultural awareness in a diverse and inclusive environment. We are unable to comment on specific personnel matters.”
But Hall insisted: “This is something I want to fight and expose, to give other Christians the courage of their convictions.
“I can’t tell you how many I’ve worked with that have told me, ‘Dave, we agree with you 100 percent. I wish I had the courage to do that.’ But they’re scared… Their fears are being realised through me.”