But what if I complained about it and then had to endure people congratulating the employee on his "marriage?" (use of "quotes" is the Complainant's thing, not mine). Still no? Yes, still no.
The Complainant received the following email via a work distribution list:
[Employee A] and his partner [named] are getting married this Sunday. The IO is sponsoring an informal celebration to congratulate [Employee A] on this happy event. Please feel free to drop by the IO conference room on Thursday, October 7 at 4:30 P.M. to wish them well.This prompted the Complainant to respond (FYI -apparently a "Reply All"):
I feel your message announcing the celebration of the “union” of [Employee A] and his “Partner” was offensive and insensitive to my religious faith as a Christian. I think it is general knowledge that the Christian faith only condones “marriages” between men and women, not men and other men. As acting Office Director, I feel you could have been more “sensitive” and “neutral” with regards to this issue.So, what do you think happened next? "The next day, NCEA employees sent approximately 15-20 emails on the global list-serve (including Complainant) congratulating Employee A on his marriage." But, "[n]one of these emails specifically mentioned Complainant or his email."
This is not religious harassment. The Complainant was invited to a voluntary social gathering, and the congratulatory emails did not mention the Complainant or challenge his religious beliefs. Apparently one private email did question his religious beliefs but that's not enough to constitute a "severe and pervasive" hostile work environment.
Case dismissed. HT: Volokh Conspiracy.
Posted by Philip Miles, an attorney with McQuaide Blasko in State College, Pennsylvania in the firm's civil litigation and labor and employment law practice groups.