FLUSHING, NY (ChurchMilitant.com) - An employee of Macy's has been fired for expressing his Catholic faith.
According to a case currently before the New York State Division of Human Rights, Javier Chavez was terminated from his position as a senior store detective at Macy's department store in Flushing, New York following an incident in May in which a female customer complained of a man entering the ladies room.
Chavez explains that a security office under him was instructed to ask the man to leave, as the customer and her daughter were fearful of using the same restroom. The man did leave, but complained to store officials, as he believes himself to be female and asserted his right to use the restroom of his choice. Chavez was then informed by the assistant store manager that certain men had permission to use the female facilities — a fact, Chavez claims, he was not aware of prior to the incident.
While agreeing to enforce the policy, Chavez did note the mandate went against his deeply held Catholic faith; the comment landed him in the office of the Human Resources Manager, who suspended him. The suspension eventually led to termination.
"After my employer learned that I was a practicing Catholic, with religious concerns about this policy," the complaint states, quoting Chavez. "I was terminated because of my religion, in violation of the New York State Human Rights Law."
The New York Human Rights Law, the first of its kind in the United States, prohibits discrimination based on "age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, marital status or disability."
The Flushing incident is not the first time the suspension or termination of an employee over transgender issues has made headlines. In April, Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in California suspended alumni office worker Gigi Kurz for the alleged "crime" of defending Church teaching on sexuality during a conversation with students. The discussion in question, which took place during the campuses' LGBT "Rainbow Week," was deemed a "hate crime" by a student, resulting in Kurz's suspension and the launch of an investigation.
According to attorneys representing Kurz, the employee has since been reinstated.