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Woman quits job after being ordered to remove ‘offensive’ Pride flag picture

Nick Duffy January 5, 2017

A lesbian hospital worker has resigned in protest after being ordered to change her computer’s desktop background from a Pride flag her bosses branded “offensive”.

Michelle Hurn had worked for a year and a half as a registered dietitian at Boulder Community Health Center.

However, she was caught up in a dispute with her employer after being ordered to remove a Pride background from her computer.

Ms Hurn, who is openly gay, explained to ABC Denver7: “It kind of rotates between pictures of me running, my chickens, my dog. The last screen saver I had before this was me and my wife after we went to a wedding.”

One of the pictures was a Pride flag, she explained, as as a “symbol of equality… for people who are marginalized.”

However, she was notified by her boss that she would have to remove the Pride flag because it was “offensive” to some people after a complaint from a co-worker.

She said: “To say that a symbol of equality is offensive… I have a real problem with that and I just don’t feel good working for an organization that’s going to stand behind that.

“I was very surprised that HR, my boss, the director of our department, they all told me they like me, they think I’m a good dietitian, they think I do great work, but if I’m going to put the symbol back up, then they’re going to start the discipline process and that I was going to be fired.”

Ms Hurn opted to resign from the company over the row after repeated clashes with managers.

 

The hospital’s CEO denied banning the symbol because it was “offensive”, but admitted they asked for it to be removed to preserve a “neutral” workspace environment.

A statement contended: “The media report also stated that the gay pride flag was on a list of offensive images that are banned at BCH. There is not and never has been such a list.

“It is BCH practice that communications and images in shared workspaces be neutral. The purpose of this practice is to maintain a workplace that is focused on patient care. In this specific situation, the employee resigned rather than accept our content neutrality practice.”

The statement added: “The employee who resigned was never threatened with termination by any member of the management team or Human Resources Department at BCH.

“The employee was offered the opportunity to have formal or informal mediation with her coworker but declined that option and chose to resign.

 

“Unfortunately, American society is increasingly polarized and we in Boulder are not immune to that divisiveness.

“I am deeply saddened that this incident has caused members of our community to feel unwelcome at BCH. This is not who we are and does not represent our values.”

More: US

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