Court Upholds Dismissal of Anti-Gay Employee

SAN FRANCISCO — Hewlett-Packard had the right to fire an employee who posted anti-gay messages at his cubicle to protest the company’s diversity policy, a federal appeals court in San Francisco has ruled.

HP fired Richard Peterson, who worked in the company’s support division in Boise, Idaho, because he displayed passages from the Bible about making gay sex punishable by death.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said Tuesday that Peterson had not been a victim of religious discrimination. The Palo Alto-based company had the right to enforce an even-handed policy against harassment and discrimination, the court said.

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Peterson, who had worked at HP for more than two decades, said he had been singled out. Other employees were allowed to display religious symbols and pro-diversity posters, he said.

But Judge Stephen Reinhardt said Peterson had been fired because he had “violated the company’s harassment policy by attempting to generate a hostile and intolerant work environment” and had disobeyed managers’ orders to remove the postings.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
Associated Press, USA
Jan., 8, 2004

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