Photo: Tareq Ismail, via Unsplash.
A former postal worker claims he was fired from his job as a letter carrier because he’s gay.
The worker, who is also HIV-positive, filed a lawsuit on Friday in federal court alleging that he was discriminated against and subjected to harassment at the hands of his co-workers.
He is referred to in the lawsuit as “John Doe” in order to protect himself from stigma or retribution.
The lawsuit claims Doe was a letter carrier in Hanover Township, Pa., for the U.S. Postal Service for 12 years before he was fired on Aug. 19.
According to the lawsuit, one of his co-workers relayed several gay slurs used by co-workers to describe Doe, including a “sick faggot.”
Another worker called him “Glinda,” a reference to the “Good Witch” from The Wizard of Oz. Still other co-workers complained that his shorts were too tight.
And one supervisor allegedly said, “I fucking swear to God I’m gonna get his ass fired.”
According to the lawsuit, the mailman was fired for allegedly kicking a co-worker, Lisa Williams. Doe claims Williams lied about the incident.
He was charged with harassment for the alleged incident, but the charge was dismissed.
After he was fired, another co-worker told Doe that Williams said “I’m so glad they finally got rid of that fruitcake.”
According to the lawsuit, Williams waited four to six days before reporting the kicking incident to police.
Supervisors then waited 40 days after the alleged incident before conducting a pre-disciplinary interview with the letter carrier and waited 53 days before issuing a “notice of removal.”
“Defendants acceded to Ms. Williams’ discriminatory bias and hate by wrongfully terminating Doe,” the lawsuit claims.
Doe is asking to be reinstated in his job and be paid for the time since he was terminated, as well as damages for pain, suffering, and embarrassment suffered as a result of his firing.
He claims he has fallen into a deep depression after losing his job, and, because he doesn’t have an income, it’s unclear how he’ll be able to pay for medication and medical care to manage his HIV.
U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman Karen Mazurkiewicz told LehighValleyLive.com that she couldn’t comment on pending litigation.
However, she said the postal service is committed to providing a work environment free of harassment or other inappropriate conduct based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, mental or physical disability.
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