Judge says LGBT training video was against his religion, sues over termination
- A Social Security Administration (SSA) judge in Texas refused to watch a mandatory LGBT diversity training video and sued his employers out of fear of being fired, The Washington Post reports. Judge Gary Suttles told a Texas federal court that disciplinary action against him should be delayed until a federal employment panel hears his claims.
- Suttles claimed the SSA violated his religious rights by mandating that he watch a video against his religious beliefs, creating a hostile work environment and retaliating against him for seeking religious accommodation, says the Post.
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is reviewing Suttles' case and won't finish the review until mid-March. Suttles missed the deadline he was given to view the video and could be disciplined at any time.
Religious accommodation suits might not be as common as race and gender-based claims, but employees filed more than 3,800 religious lawsuits in 2016, and religious accommodation is among the top claims. With an administration that favors states rights and decreasing regulations, HR can expect an uptick in similar cases.
Employers hold the upper hand when employees sue to delay disciplinary action. Suttle might get sympathy from the court for his religious accommodation claim. But courts have ruled against plaintiffs in similar cases. Suttles' case is worth watching to see what the court decides.