Judge Suttles claims that watching the video is against his religious beliefs and seeks court intervention.
A judge filed a complaint against his superiors for making him watch a video about the LGBT community. The judge claimed that it infringed upon his religious freedom and sued his superiors claiming that they had created a hostile work environment for him.
Texas Social Security Administration Judge Gary Suttles claims that his First Amendment Rights were hurt by his superiors. According to the complaint that he filed, the agency had failed to work in good faith to respect his religious beliefs. It goes on to say that he was religiously discriminated against and that a hostile work environment was created. The complaint also accused the agency of taking action against him for retaliating against what was done against him.
The Social Security Administration required its members to watch the video, titled “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Community” to keep up with Obama’s directive on workplace diversity in the government. Judge Suttles told the office director that he wouldn’t watch the video as he is fully aware how people to treat people with equal respect and dignity and that he doesn’t need such a training video to teach him how to. Besides, he said that the video disturbed his religious beliefs and sought to be exempted from watching the video on these grounds. He even offered to take an alternate course on diversity, which was turned down by his superiors. Monica Anderson, the hearing office’s chief administrative law judge, emailed him saying that watching the video was mandatory and that failure to do so on his part would be dealt with by disciplinary actions. She also told him that the agency had a duty to make sure that all employees were made aware about the issues dealt with in the video.
Suttles, however, kept refusing to watch the video. Even when he was told that he could read a transcript of the video if he objected to watching it, he didn’t change his mind. The complaint says that he has a problem with the content of the video, and not the medium by which it was being shown.
The regional chief administrative law judge, to who the case reached after some time, warned Suttles that future acts of misconduct would end up with him losing his job. He was also barred from taking transfers or working from home. According to Suttles, these actions were retaliatory and has appealed to the court to prevent further disciplinary actions.