Current Affairs

Library of Congress employee sacked after “liking” pro-gay Facebook page

Edmund Broch April 13, 2012
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A gay auditor at the US Library of Congress, the largest library in the world, has sad that his pressing the “Like” button on a Facebook page that promoted gay adoption led to workplace harassment, discrimination, and eventually his sacking.

Peter TerVeer, 30, said that he had enjoyed a cordial relationship to his supervisor, in addition to “exemplary” marks and performance reviews, before the latter learned of his sexuality. The troubles appear to have begun when, in 2009, Mr TerVeer “liked” a Facebook page, “Two Dads,” which supported gay adoption.

The next day, Mr TerVeer said, his supervisor’s daughter “de-friended” him on the social networking website, with a message: “You’re not one of those weirdos, are you?” Then, the said supervisor forwarded what Mr TerVeer described as a “threatening” e-mail, with the subject, “Diversity — Let’s Celebrate It,” alongside an image of assault rifles.

On June 21, 2010, Mr TerVeer was, according to his affadavit, “directly confronted… about [his] sexual preference for the first time.” His supervisor wanted “to educated [him about] hell” and reportedly told him that it was a “sin” to be gay. He was also accused of damaging the Library’s reputation.

The auditor was dismissed from his job on April 6 for missing 37 consecutive working days, though he says he was signed off on disability leave by his supervisor, the reported disability being severe anxiety disorder on account of hostile work environment. A statement from the Library says this leave had expired.

Mr TerVeer had already filed a complaint late last year, saying he was discriminated on the grounds of sexual orientation, at the Library’s Equal Employment Opportunity Complaints Office. But the response to that is not expected till 9th of May. The auditor’s lawyer, Thomas Simeone, said that he could file an appeal with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or lodge a private lawsuit.

A spokesperson for the Library of Congress has said in a statement that the library does not comment on personnel matters, and merely affirmed that all employees have the same legal protection as other federal employees.



More: Americas, Discrimination, Employment, library of congress, US

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