Worker: I was fired for re­port­ing gay-bash­ing

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Sam Tabach­nik

A for­mer em­ployee of a Colorado watch­dog agency claims he was dis­crim­i­nated against for be­ing gay and ul­ti­mately fired as re­tal­i­a­tion for re­port­ing ha­rass­ment by a co-worker.

Ja­son Pur­due, an ad­min­is­tra­tive as­sis­tant with the Depart­ment of Reg­u­la­tory Af­fairs, al­leged in a dis­crim­i­na­tion com­plaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Divi­sion last month that he was sus­pended and then fired “based on my dis­abil­ity, sex, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, mixed race, and/or in re­tal­i­a­tion for en­gag­ing in pro­tected ac­tiv­i­ties.”

Ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint, Pur­due re­ported in Fe­bru­ary that he was be­ing ha­rassed by a co­worker. John Crone, Pur­due’s at­tor­ney, said one wit­ness de­scribed the treat­ment as “gay bash­ing.” No ac­tion was taken, the com­plaint says. Pur­due was then placed on leave, where his “mental health de­te­ri­o­rated,” Crone said.

Af­ter learn­ing in late Au­gust that the State Per­son­nel Board had de­nied him a pub­lic hear­ing based on his al­le­ga­tions, Pur­due at­tempted sui­cide.

“In­stead of tak­ing ac­tion to ac­com­mo­date or help him, Crone said, “DORA ig­nored it and con­tin­ued to dis­ci­pline him,” Crone said.

Pur­due re­turned to work briefly in Septem­ber, but it re­mained the “same dis­crim­i­na­tory, hos­tile work en­vi­ron­ment,” Crone said. On Nov. 2, Pur­due was fired.

Re­becca Lau­rie, spokes­woman for DORA, said the depart­ment dis­putes Pur­due’s claims, but other­wise does not com­ment on per­son­nel mat­ters or pend­ing lit­i­ga­tion.

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