Federal court upholds firing of New York man who refused LGBTQ training

Raymond Zdunski was fired from the Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES outside of Buffalo.
Raymond Zdunski was fired from the Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES outside of Buffalo.
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A western New York man who was fired for refusing to attend mandatory workplace LGBTQ-inclusive training lost his reinstatement appeal in federal court in Manhattan on March 13.

Raymond Zdunski had filed a lawsuit against the Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES — which is a New York State-based provider of educational services — in a bid to gain reinstatement and receive retroactive compensation and $10 million in damages. He was fired from his position as an account clerk in 2018.

A district court rejected his lawsuit last year and United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit sided with the district court decision, dealing yet another blow to Zdunski.

“It just seems like the country is against the Christian way of life, and it’s for everything else,” Zdunski said, according to The Buffalo News. “We’re not allowed to practice our way of life but anyone else can, it seems.”

Zdunski claimed that his firing represented “unlawful religious discrimination,” according to the Buffalo News. But the court said Zdunski “failed to point to sufficient evidence favoring him that would allow a jury to return a verdict for him on any of his claims.” Zdunski took things a step further when he allegedly asked his employer to plan mandatory training around the persecution of Christian people, according to the Buffalo News.

David O’Rourke, the district superintendent of Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES, which is located outside of Buffalo, praised both of the court rulings.

“We agree with the decisions of both the US District Court and the Court of Appeals, and remain committed to fostering a safe and supportive environment for all students and staff,” O’Rourke said.

District Judge Geoffrey W. Crawford, who ruled on the case last year, said the training is required by the Dignity for All Students Act.