Today Craig Henry PLC filed a lawsuit against the City of Bowling Green and an individual member of the City’s Fire Department on behalf of Jeff Queen, a former firefighter with the City. In the lawsuit, Jeff, an atheist, alleges that he was subjected to near constant harassment that included being called the anti-Christ and was told that atheists “deserve to burn.” In addition, he was repeatedly called a “fag,” “homo” and “queer.” Jeff wasn’t the only subject of the Fire Department’s vitriol. Jeff’s co-workers routinely denigrated members of the Bowling Green community, referring to members of the LGBTQ community as “fucking faggots” and to African-Americans as “hood rats” and the n-word. Muslims were called “ragheads,” “towelheads” and “alibabas.” In a particularly galling incident, a firefighter burned a Quran outside a Fire Station.
We allege that these comments and other incidents created a hostile environment based on sex and religion in violation of Kentucky’s Civil Rights Act. In addition, we allege that Jeff was retaliated against when he complained of this illegal behavior and, ultimately, was forced to quit his job out of fear for his personal safety and that of his family.
The complete complaint and video of Quran burning are attached to this post.
Both Kentucky and federal law prohibit harassment based on race, religion, age, national origin, sex and disability. When co-workers or managers allow a workplace to be permeated with comments, jokes, and slurs based on these characteristics, the employer may be liable for the damages. Moreover, when an employer retaliates against an employee for complaining about harassment or discrimination, they may be liable for the retaliatory actions as well. Craig Henry PLC routinely represents individuals who have been subjected to discrimination, harassment or retaliation in their workplace. If you have experienced a violation of your rights at work, please call us to discuss your situation and your potential claims. If you have been denied services by a government agency based on one of these characteristics, we are also happy to talk to you about possible claims.