Home improvement retailer Lowe’s has two stores in the Milwaukee metro: one serving the north side of the city and nearby suburbs, and another for the south side of town and its suburbs. The chain of big-box hardware stores says on its website that it’s building a culture where its workers feel safe and valued.
However, a former Lowe’s employee recently filed a sexual orientation discrimination lawsuit against the chain.
The former worker claims a store manager was “out to get him” because he’s gay. The 53-year-old worked for the home improvement giant for about four years after being hired as a sales associate in fall 2015.
According to his lawsuit, discrimination against him “because of (his) sexual orientation” began about two years ago when the manager stated in a meeting that he “did not want a certain type of people – i.e. gay people – working at his store.”
The former worker also claims that other supervisors told him to be careful because the manager was “out to get” him.
He states in his suit that he made “numerous complaints” to the store’s human resources officer, but that the complaints resulted in retaliation by the manager, who began writing him up for alleged work policy violations in an effort to get him fired.
He said he was fired nine days after filing a complaint with the corporate HR department in March of last year. His termination was “the result of a customer complaint, which was not true.”
The former worker’s employment law attorney said “one of the things that stood out to us is that in (his) separation notice, the official reason given was unsatisfactory job performance. But what’s weird is, that last paycheck he got also included a merit pay raise.”
Workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited by Wisconsin and federal law. Please contact the Milwaukee employment law attorneys of Alan C. Olson and Associates to discuss your circumstances and legal options.