A Tennessee man has just filed a federal lawsuit against his former employer alleging that he was fired for being gay.
Until recently, James Thompson (pictured) worked as a staffing coordinator for Maryland-based Abacus Corporation, where he said he never had any problems with his supervisors.
“Never been written up, never been put on probation,” Thompson told WSMV-TV.
Then in June, there was an incident with another employee who launched into a homophobic tirade at the office. According to Thompson, the employee unleashed a string of nasty comments about same-sex marriage to some of his co-workers. When Thompson confronted him about it, the employee made a scene, cursing at him and storming out of the building. As a result, Thompson fired him.
Days later, Thompson’s boss, Abacus VP Bill Lund, flew down to Nashville to meet with him about what happened.
“After that meeting he actually asked me if I was gay,” Thompson recalled. “And the following working day he terminated me.”
Thompson is now seeking $400,000 in damages from his former employer. He says he also hopes his story will raise awareness to about how many LGBTQ employees are still treated in the workplace.
“What I want to see come out of this is for the discrimination to stop,” he said. “Not just for gays, bisexuals, lesbians, all discrimination.”
Tennessee law does not prohibit discrimination of the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Abacus is remaining tight-lipped about the incident, though the company did release the following statement in response:
It is Abacus Corporation policy not to comment on the facts relating to pending litigation. Abacus firmly believes Mr. Thompson’s allegations are without merit and will be proven to be mere fabrications. Abacus is extremely confident it will be fully exonerated in this matter.