The Home Depot Improvement Chain Faces Discrimination Against Gay Employees
The home improvement retail chain, Home Depot is reportedly facing a California labor lawsuit that alleges the company discriminated against and harassed gay employees in attempts to lower the cost of benefits the company was financial responsible for under the California Domestic Relationship Act.
Plaintiff Hardy Housh was 57 and had worked at Home Depot for 25 years when they fired him in 2012. A former manager at a San Diego location who identifies himself as being gay, Housh filed the lawsuit alleging the company pushed out older gay employees out of fear for having to pay for medical benefits associated with AIDS and HIV.
Housh is seeking $100,000 in damages for discrimination, sexual harassment, and other counts. When the chain had financial difficulties and wanted to cut costs during the economic fallout precipitated by the collapse of the housing market, it allegedly sought out certain employees to fire on the basis of age and sexual orientation.His complaint states that “Home Depot was concerned with ‘gay male’ employees because of its perception that it would pay more medical benefits associated with HIV and AIDS viruses.” Also that “Home Depot was concerned that it would have to pay costs associated with ‘gay partners.’”
Home Depot Allegedly Faked Write-Ups on Targeted Employees
According to the lawsuit, Home Depot allegedly wrote up fake write-ups on employees who were targeted. Housh claims to have received fraudulent personnel write-ups from supervisors and that “During February of 2012, Housh was subjected to an additional false write-up and was terminated without an opportunity to prove that it was based on false facts – that he trash-compacted a microwave oven in violation of hazmat rules.”
Furthermore, managers reportedly harassed Housh with inappropriate sexual gestures that included sexually explicit pictures sent to his e-mail.
The harassment reportedly began in October 2011, almost immediately after Housh added his registered domestic partner in his Home Depot insurance plan.
Peter K. Levine
A Professional Law Corporation