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Teacher is suing union after claiming he was fired because of his sexuality

Barry Hobson was hired as a receptionist but claims he was subjected to a hostile workplace environment

2018-09-27

A teacher is suing the local union after he claims he was fired because of his sexuality.

The Washington Teachers Union (WTU) hired Barry Hobson as a reception and office assistants last year but the teacher is claiming he was subjected to a hostile workplace after he was refused benefits because of his sexuality.

Hobson and his attorney’s have now filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Columbia earlier this month and named some of the defendants in the case.

One of them was Dorothy Egbufor – the chief of staff at the WTU and his direct supervisor – and the president of the WTU Elizabeth Davis, as well as the union itself.

The lawsuit claims that the WTU board met in April 2017 and voted to terminate his contract after learning he was gay during a phone in January.

Hobson alleges says that Egbufor asked who ‘Timothy’ was on the benefits document to which he replied it was his fiancé, now husband.

The lawsuit reads: “Prior to abruptly hanging up on Plaintiff, defendant Egbufor said in a tone of disgust with a raised voice, ‘Your fiancé? OK Barry, goodbye’. Then she immediately hung up.”

In the lawsuit, two emails that Egbufor allegedly sent have been submitted as evidence for the discrimination he suffered.

One read: “Allowing Barry Hobson benefits will without question open the door to many issues down the road. 

“Market data shows a substantial premium/rate increase when allowing the LGBT community to participate in employer sponsored plans for various reasons.

“Aids, HIV, and STD statistics are great pricing factors when considering this community and would be a detriment to our regular employees…”

The second email explicitly recommends that Hobson’s contract should be terminated because of his sexuality.

It read: “Barry’s nature of resistance and pushback is common among his peers in the homosexual community and will be an ongoing issue for WTU if not addressed.

“As a result, I plan to recommend termination and immediately begin reassigning the remainder of his job duties to various staff in the coming days.”

However, the WTU have denied the allegations and Davis said the claims are “outrageous and totally without merit”.

She said: “The Washington Teachers Union has always been, and continued to be strongly committed to treating all individuals equally regardless of their sexual orientation.”