A man who worked at Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES for seven years will not get his job back, according to a federal court's ruling. The man had been fired for refusing to attend a mandatory LGBTQ training session.
It just seems like the country is against the Christian way of life, and it's for everything else. We're not allowed to practice our way of life but anyone else can, it seems. ~Raymond Zdunski
A federal appeals court rejected Raymond Zdunski's case. He is a former account clerk at BOCES who claims he was fired for refusing to attend a required LGBTQ training session in 2018. There was no disciplinary action taken against him for skipping the first training, but he was told he would need to attend a make-up training session, which Zdunski refused. He argued that the training violated his religious beliefs. He was presented with the option to attend the LGBTQ training or be terminated. His lawyer, Kristina S. Heuser, told Buffalo News he was fired "for no other reason than his refusal to be indoctrinated with anti-biblical teaching."
According to the Washington Examiner, Zdunski sued his former employer for "unlawful religious discrimination." In his lawsuit, he demanded to be reinstated to his job, receive back pay, and be awarded $10 million in damages. BOCES defended its decision to fire Zdunski saying that LGBTQ training was required to help prevent discrimination.
A three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled against Zdunksi's appeal on Monday, March 13, 2023. U.S. District Judge Geoffrey Crawford, who ruled against Zdunski last year, wrote,
Plaintiff's unsupported assumption that Defendants believe him to be ‘bigoted’ due to his religious beliefs is insufficient to support an inference of discrimination. In sum, no facts in the record support a finding that Mr. Zdunski was terminated because of his religion; rather, the evidence in the record supports Defendants' position that his termination was due to repeatedly refusing to attend a mandatory employee training.
His attorney says they plan on appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.