A gay man’s salary was slashed in half to level his pay with “other females” in the office, after his boss learned of his sexuality.
Wesley Wernecke, 32, started working at Eventique – an event company that’s worked for Spotify, Amazon, Twitter, H&M and Nike – as a Senior Producer on 3 June, after he was “aggressively” recruited from Boston.
One week into working at the company, Wernecke came out to his colleagues when asked about his “flashy” and “girly” wedding ring. The colleague reportedly continued to say: “So what does your wife’s ring look like?”
According to the court papers filed on Wednesday, Wernecke’s boss, Eventique owner Henry “Liron” David, was present at the time and subsequently alienated him at work; excluding him from conferences and drinks with “the fellas”.
The documents 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.”
After three months of working for the company, David told Wernecke on 20 September that he’d be cutting his salary in half, from $145,000 to $70,000. David reportedly told Wernecke that he “couldn’t sleep at night thinking you were being paid so much more than the other females in the office.”
The lawsuit charges: “David’s reference to Wernecke as one of the ‘females in the office’ was intended, again, to reinforce Wernecke’s understanding that David considered Wernecke to be a sexual deviant and unfit to work at Eventique.
Anthony Consiglio, Wernecke’s lawyer, said his client is “accomplished marketing director and producer of live events.”
He added: “About a week and a half after Wesley began work in the office, the employer learned he is gay, and then immediately began systematically shutting him out of the job.”
“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.”