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Gay May Sues Former Employer Over Discrimination Against Straight Men

Originally posted 11 May 2012

There are some of us (myself for instance) who would probably make really horrible bosses because, well, I would rather not hire any men to work for me. Still, I’m hardly in a position to do that kind of hiring or firing, and, well, despite my dislike of men, I have brought a few men to work on LGR in the past. Still, the boss of Jamie Ardigo of Hoboken, NJ got a surprise when he went to work for J. Christopher Burch of New York.

Ardigo is suing Burch, the head of J. Christopher Capital, for sex-discrimination and wrongful termination. Ardigo, who is gay, alleges that Burch is anti-straight. Well, anti-straight male.

Ardigo told ABC that he did not know he was being hired by a biased company. He stated “Did I have any inkling what I was getting into? No, I did not. I went there with the expectation that, as I’d been told, there was a family environment where employees and managers supported one another, and there was an open-door policy.”

Less than a month later, he was in a meeting where Burch allegedly announced that he only hired gay men because they were supposedly more productive and because he trusted them. Ardigo also stated that there were other times when he would witness “it in meetings with the executive management team, where he’d blatantly state the fact that he only likes to hire gay men and beautiful women.”

ABC reports that “Ardigo found this troubling on two levels, he says: As a gay man, he personally was offended. And as an HR professional ‘keenly aware’ of the need to maintain a non-discriminatory atmosphere in the workplace, he knew that both the attitude expressed and any hiring that bore it out was contrary to federal and New York City law.”

Ardigo stated that “I was highly concerned for the organization and uncomfortable myself working there. I had never worked for an organization that made decisions based on that or that made comments like that.”

Brian Cousin, Burch’s lawyer, refutes Ardigo’s story and said that he was fired for performance-related issues. He also told ABC that “The company has reviewed the allegations and denies any wrongdoing. It denies there was discrimination or retaliation.” Bias laws do not usually cover Whites or males.

ABC also reported that:

Ardigo, for his part, says he was fired because he called management’s attention to instances of discriminatory and inappropriate behavior, including one in which a female employee, when being introduced for the first time to Ardigo, said to the person making the introduction, “Oh, are you going to introduce me to another gay guy?!”

In another alleged instance, a male employee insinuated that a female employee had a vibrating dildo in her purse.

When Ardigo reported this last incident to management and sought to have the male employee reprimanded, his says his report was ignored and no reprimand was given. “The investigation ended in absolutely nothing. The recommendation I had made was not followed through on.”

According to several sources in the company, Ardigo’s performance was never an issue. According to Ardigo, his supervisor pressured him to reveal information about himself. He stated that “He stated that he needed to trust me, and in order to do that he needed to know more about me.” Ardigo was not comfortable with that saying “Knowing the culture of the organization, hearing about their hiring only gay men, I felt there was an expectation that I had to reveal that information in order to be successful at work.”

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