A gay man working at an event company found his salary cut in half after his boss found out he was gay.
Two weeks later, the gay employee was fired.
The New York Post reports Wesley Wernecke was recruited, hired and began working for Eventique in New York City on June 3 as a Senior Producer.
One week into settling into the new gig, a coworker noticed his wedding ring and asked, “So what does your wife’s ring look like?”
According to court papers filed with the Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday, Wernecke shared that his partner, Evan, had a similar ring.
Eventique founder and executive producer Liron David was in the room at the time of the conversation, and soon Wernecke found himself left out of conference meetings as well as being excluded from after-work drinks with other male colleagues.
Court documents for the lawsuit allege, “David took all these tactics to exclude Wernecke because David had already made up his mind that, despite the proficiency of Wernecke’s work, he would not accept having an openly gay man working in the office, and he intended to get rid of Wernecke.”
Wernecke soldiered on for months, but on September 20 David informed Wernecke that he was reducing his salary from $145,000 to $70,000.
“I couldn’t sleep at night thinking you were being paid so much more than the other females in the office,” David told the 32-year-old reports the Post.
Wernecke says he believes David made the comment “to reinforce Wernecke’s understanding that David considered Wernecke to be a sexual deviant and unfit to work at Eventique.”
Wernecke soon discovered his pay was actually slashed to $58,000. And two weeks later, on October 4, Wernecke was told he was being fired due to “deficiencies” and “errors” in his work.
Wernecke’s lawyer, Anthony Consiglio at the law firm Cary Kane, told the Post his client is an “accomplished marketing director and producer of live events” who is now seeing a therapist for the first time in his life due to the discriminatory treatment.
“These acts cannot be reconciled with the liberal anti-discrimination positions written into law in New York City and State to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and transgender people in their workplaces,” Consiglio said.
Gena Zaiderman, David’s attorney, told the Post her client considers the allegations in the court filing “baseless” and “shocking.”
“Mr. David firmly stands by his long-standing reputation for fairness and professionalism,” said Zaiderman. “We expect that the facts will be revealed in due course.”