Gay man’s salary was slashed in half to level his pay with ‘other females’, court hears

Emma Powys Maurice November 14, 2019
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The man's boss "began systematically shutting him out of the job" after learning he was gay, the lawsuit claims (Envato Elements)

A boss slashed a gay man’s salary in half to bring his pay in line with “other females” after learning of his sexuality, a new lawsuit has heard.

Wesley Wernecke was hired by Eventique, an events company whose clients include Spotify, Amazon, Twitter and Nike. He revealed he was gay a week after joining the company.

His boss “immediately began systematically shutting him out of the job,” lowering Wernecke’s salary from $145,000 to $70,000 before firing him after just three months.

Wernecke’s boss, Henry ‘Liron’ David, was present for a conversation in which another co-worker mentioned Wernecke’s “flashy” and “girly” wedding ring, and asked him what his wife’s ring looked like.

He replied that his partner, Evan, had a similar ring. After this he says his boss began alienating him by excluding him from conferences, drinks with “the fellas” and from new business opportunities.

I couldn’t sleep at night thinking you were being paid so much more than the other females in the office

“David took all these tactics to exclude Wernecke because David had already made up his mind that, despite the proficiency of Wernecke’s work, he would not accept having an openly gay man working in the office, and he intended to get rid of Wernecke,” court documents seen by the New York Post allege.

On September 20, just over three months after Wernecke started working at Eventique, David informed him he’d be lowering his salary to $70,000. He would later discover that it had actually been lowered even further, to $58,000.

“I couldn’t sleep at night thinking you were being paid so much more than the other females in the office,” the boss is alleged to have said.

(Envato Elements)

“David’s reference to Wernecke as one of the ‘females in the office’ was intended, again, to reinforce Wernecke’s understanding that David considered Wernecke to be a sexual deviant and unfit to work at Eventique,” the lawsuit charges.

On October 4, David fired Wernecke on the pretence that he couldn’t afford to keep him, citing “errors” and “deficiencies” in his work performance, the court documents say.

“These acts cannot be reconciled with the liberal anti-discrimination positions written into law in New York City and State to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and transgender people in their workplaces,” Wernecke’s lawyer Anthony Consiglio said.

More: discrimination lawsuit, out at work, workplace bullying, workplace discrimination

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