Man Fired From Library Of Congress For Liking Gay Group On Facebook
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A former management analyst at the Library of Congress is claiming he was fired after he “liked” a Facebook page for same-sex parents, an act he says led to his boss discovering he is gay.
Peter TerVeer liked the “Two Dads” page on Facebook, a group that helps “promote the gay and lesbian community,” according to the page. When his manager, John Mech, discovered he was gay, TerVeer’s once-positive performance reviews turned negative, he alleges, and his boss started making derogatory statements about his sexual orientation, according to TerVeer’s attorney Thomas Simeone.
Simeone would not comment on details of the case, but a Roll Call article published Tuesday said shortly after TerVeer liked the Two Dads page:
TerVeer said he started to receive emails from Mech that contained ‘religiously motivated harassment and discrimination.’ Mech then called him into a meeting for the purposes of ‘educating him on hell and that it awaited him for being a homosexual.’ TerVeer’s therapist ordered him to take medical leave because of the stress, Simeone said. He was fired last week for missing 37 consecutive days of work.
Even though sexual orientation discrimination was part of the case, Simeone said his client will fight the termination based on religious bias. He said laws protecting workers against sexual orientation discrimination are limited and provide few, if any, remedies for compensating workers in cases like TerVeer’s. Whatever the outcome, it’s a wake-up call for employees who may not yet understand the extent to which their social media participation can impact their careers. The question of what’s private and what’s not on social networking sites is rearing its head in the workplace more often.
Facebook has threatened to “take action to protect the privacy and security of our users” in cases where employers seek passwords. While most companies don’t cyber snoop on workers and job candidates, it can be legal for your employer to mine your social media meandering and take adverse action against you for something on your Facebook or LinkedIn, as long as your employer doesn’t thwart discrimination laws or collective bargaining rights.