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Labor & Employment

Gay Man Sues Library of Congress, Alleging ‘Sex Stereotyping’ Discrimination

Posted Aug 30, 2012 4:00 PM CDT
By Mark Hansen

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Peter TerVeer says he was an up-and-coming auditor for the Library of Congress's inspector general's office until his boss found out that he was gay.

Then his boss started harassing him with religious-based homophobia and eventually got him fired, TerVeer claims in a federal lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed Aug. 3 in U.S. District Court in Washington, alleges that TerVeer, 30, suffered discrimination based on "sex stereotyping" and his religious beliefs in violation of Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act, the Washington Post reports.

It also claims that TerVeer was subjected to a hostile work environment for more than a year by his boss, John Mech, who quoted biblical passages to him condemning homosexuality. Mech is a religious man who keeps a Bible on his desk at work, the suit says.

"Aside from creating a hostile environment in which he imposed his religious and sexual stereotypes, Mech began creating a paper trail to support his ultimate goal of driving TerVeer out of the Library of Congress," the suit alleges.

The suit also alleges that the plaintiff faced retaliation when he filed a complaint with the agency's Equal Employment Opportunity office, which found that TerVeer had not been discriminated against.

After TerVeer says he was advised by his doctor to take an extended medical leave to deal with his stress, he was fired for missing 37 consecutive workdays. The lawsuit claims that library officials had signed off on his request for disability leave.

A spokeswoman for the Library of Congress said the agency does not comment on pending litigation. Mech and Inspector General Karl W. Schornagel also declined to comment.

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