Employee refuses to watch LGBT training video

by L&D12 Sep 2016
David Hall would prefer to lose his job than watch a mandatory LGBT training video because it goes against his Christian beliefs.

The 42-year-old has worked at an Illinois Social Security Administration (SSA) office for 14 years as an area systems coordinator.

Hall said that SSA employees across the United States received an email in late April saying that watching the 17-minute video was a requirement.

His supervisor ordered him to watch it on June 2 and again on June 24. He was suspended without pay on August 15-16 after still refusing to watch it.

One aspect that particularly frustrated Hall was that viewing the video was mandatory. Hall said he did not remember the agency making previous training videos mandatory.

Consequently, he requested a religious accommodation to not go ahead with the training, which was unsuccessful.

Doug Nguyen, communications director for the SSA's Chicago region, told The News-Gazette that "in support of an inclusive work environment, as well as exemplary customer service, the SSA recently announced a diversity and inclusion training on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Community to our employees”.

"This mandatory video training reminds our employees of their responsibility, as representatives of the agency, to provide the highest levels of service to our customers," said Nguyen.

"The training includes a brief session on tips for increasing cultural awareness in a diverse and inclusive environment. We are unable to comment on specific personnel matters."

After his suspension, Hall returned to work on August 17. He said his supervisor has explained he will receive further discipline (maybe a longer suspension without pay) if he does not watch the video.

Hall said he eventually expects to lose his job over his refusal to do so. Hall is being advised by the the private Chicago attorney Jason Craddock.