June is Pride Month, when the world’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and other queer communities come together and celebrate the freedom to be themselves. Pride gatherings are rooted in the arduous history of minority groups who have struggled for decades to overcome prejudice and be accepted for who they are. Although some cities hold Pride celebrations at other months of the year, June is the month when most of the Pride events take place globally.
Last year in June, the 63-year-old D. Snyder was asked to respond to a survey how his company, where he worked for 10 years, could improve in the future. Per the CEO of the company who sent the survey to all of the employees, the “engagement survey” that sought the employees’ input was meant to be anonymous, but it turned out that the comments written in a website’s link text section, part of the survey, were directly sent to the company’s message board.
Snyder attempted to respond to the survey by clicking the link in the email and was routed to a company webpage displaying a rainbow flag in promotion of “Gay Pride Month.” Snyder alleges he believed the flag was part of the anonymous survey and that the company was seeking his feedback on the topic. The webpage included a space where Snyder could type in a comment and he wrote, “It’s an abomination to God. Rainbow is not meant to be displayed as a sign for sexual gender.”
At least one of Snyder’s colleagues who read his comment got offended and in a short period of time, Snyder was suspended and eventually, he was fired from the company. Nearly a year after his contract was terminated for allegedly ‘violating the company’s “diversity policy”’, Snyder filed a lawsuit against his former employer Arconic, based in Iowa.
Per the lawsuit, Snyder claims he believed that he was asked to give his opinion regarding the Pride Month in the text section that opened as soon as he clicked on the link by mistake. Thinking that the survey was anonymous as previously stated, he wrote down his thoughts and sent the answers back. But he didn’t know that that was not the actual survey and his comments were sent directly to the company’s message board.
As soon as he was told what he did, Snyder reportedly tried to explain the whole situation to his higher positioned colleagues, but they laughed at him derisively. Snyder further explained to the Arconic’s leadership that his statements were based on his “sincerely held Christian beliefs.” In the end, he also tried to explain that he thought the survey was anonymous, but nothing worked and he was fired.
In his lawsuit, Snyder says he “sincerely believes that the Bible shows that the rainbow is a sign of the covenant between God and man, and thus that it is sacrilegious to use the rainbow to promote relationships and ideologies that violate God’s law.” In addition, he says in the lawsuit that Arconic is actually the intolerant one here for not accepting his intolerance because their diversity policy “actually punishes diversity of opinion, allowing only one opinion — the company’s approved narrative on morally freighted issues — while treating any employee’s religious opinion or objection to the contrary, even if intended to be anonymous and expressed in a single instance, as grounds for immediate termination with no accommodation whatsoever.
Michael McHale, the lawyer representing Snyder, said that the company made no effort in understanding Snyder’s religious beliefs and the position in which he put himself in by mistake. The lawyer further explains that Snyder’s survey answers were one-time statement that he thought was private and anonymous.
The company still hasn’t officially released a statement regarding the case. Snyder’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for alleged retaliation, religious discrimination, and violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.