An Iowa man has filed a discrimination lawsuit against his former employer, claiming he was harassed at work because he is gay.
David Quick, 43, filed the lawsuit in Polk County District Court, against Emco Enterprises Inc. He said when he went to company officials about the harassment, they not only failed to intervene, they retaliated against him for his complaints, according to the lawsuit, believed to be among the first of its kind in Iowa.
The lawsuit says that Quick was subjected to such severe anti-gay harassment that he became depressed and developed an anxiety disorder that made him unable to work.
Neither officials with Emco, a door manufacturing company, nor its parent company, Andersen Corp., of Bayport, Minn., would comment on the lawsuit.
Christopher McDonald of Des Moines, an Emco attorney, said the company does not discuss pending litigation. But in court documents, Emco denied the allegations.
The lawsuit said that Quick became uncomfortable enough that he told his manager and an investigation was conducted in October 2004.
The co-workers Quick identified denied any harassment or discrimination and Quick was told his complaint was without merit.
The anti-gay comments continued and Quick filed a claim with the Des Moines Human Rights Commission, which notified Emco in a certified letter.
The harassment worsened, Quick said in the lawsuit.
He said he was repeatedly written up for poor job performance and called into his supervisor’s office for critiques.
Company officials confronted Quick saying they heard he was looking for another job and that they were ready to accept his resignation.
He also received a three-day vacation, but was then suspended for an unauthorized absence, the lawsuit said.
Quick said he e-mailed human resource directors at Emco and Andersen seeking help but did not receive any.
Quick was diagnosed with severe depression. His doctor told him to take time off through the Family Medical Leave Act. The company initially refused but later granted the leave when Quick’s attorney threatened a lawsuit.
In May 2006, after Quick applied for long-term disability, he was fired, records show.
Quick is seeking financial compensation for lost wages and benefits, mental and emotional distress and lost enjoyment of life, according to the lawsuit.
He also is asking that Emco be ordered to undergo sensitivity training and to remove supervisors who engaged in harassment.
Trial is scheduled for Feb. 4, 2008.