David Hall, a Social Security Administration employee in Illinois, says that he’d rather be fired than be forced to watch a workplace diversity video about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Hall claims that by doing so violates his religious beliefs.
Hall a 14 year employee of the SSA ,was told in April to watch a 17-minute training video on LGBT diversity and inclusion and certify they’d done it afterward. Hall claims the department has never made a video mandatory before.
He was given direct orders on June 2 and again on June 24 and he refused both times. Hall said he is a Christian — “not anti-anyone or anything,” but “for God, for Jesus” — and believes the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin. He asked for religious accommodation but was denied. An official reprimand was placed in his file and he was suspended without pay for two days.
After the suspension, he was told he’d receive further discipline if he didn’t watch the video.
“I think this is an issue they are prepared to go to the mat with, but I’m not going to give up my faith or compromise my beliefs just to go along and get along. I don’t believe God wants me to do that,” Hall said.
“They wanted me to certify that I had completed the training,” says Hall. “I’m not going to certify an abomination.”
“I’m not judging the LGBT community … But I believe tolerance is a two-way street,” Hall said. “Unfortunately, I believe they’re wrong. But neither of us should lose our jobs or livelihood for our beliefs.
Doug Nguyen, communications director for the SSA’s Chicago region, wrote in a statement that “in support of an inclusive work environment, as well as exemplary customer service, the Social Security Administration recently announced a diversity and inclusion training on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Community to our employees.
“This mandatory video training reminds our employees of their responsibility, as representatives of the agency, to provide the highest levels of service to our customers,” Nguyen went on to say. “The training includes a brief session on tips for increasing cultural awareness in a diverse and inclusive environment. We are unable to comment on specific personnel matters.”
Hall has hired Chicago attorney Jason Craddock . He previously represented the owner of a bed and breakfast that refused to host same-sex weddings for religious reasons. The B&B turned down a couple’s request to hold a civil-union ceremony in 2011 and the judge ordered the B&B to pay $30,000 in damages to the couple and $50,000 in legal fees.