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Home News Court Ruling: Diversity Training vs. Employee Religious Beliefs – Right or Wrong?

Court Ruling: Diversity Training vs. Employee Religious Beliefs – Right or Wrong?

Court Ruling: Diversity Training vs. Employee Religious Beliefs – Right or Wrong?

( – A former account clerk in western New York was fired in 2018 for refusing to participate in a required LGBTQ training had a federal appeals court denied his appeal.

Before being let go, Raymond Zdunski worked for Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES for seven years. He compared his dismissal to “illegal religious discrimination.” He filed a lawsuit against the Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES and demanded $10 million in damages, reinstatement, and back pay.

To offer shared educational programs and services to school districts throughout the state, the New York State Legislature established the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) as a public entity in 1948.

The plaintiff had contended that the LGBTQ training and makeup session were “aimed at changing his religious beliefs about gender and sexuality,” and that attending the training “would have caused him to violate the religious teachings to which he adheres,” according to the lawsuit. His plea for a religious accommodation was turned down by BOCES.

Zdunski’s complaint was dismissed by District Court Judge Geoffrey W. Crawford in 2022 after he determined that his claims were “unsupported” and agreed with BOCES that he was fired because he declined to participate in the training, which BOCES had said were meant to assist in avoiding discrimination in the workplace.

Crawford ruled that the plaintiff’s unsupported assertion that the defendants view him as “bigoted” because of his religious convictions is insufficient to infer prejudice.

In conclusion, the evidence in the record supports the defendants’ contention that Mr. Zdunski’s firing was caused by his repeated refusal to attend a required employee training rather than a finding that he was fired due to his faith.

This Thursday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with BOCES. It stated in its judgment that Zdunski had not provided “sufficient evidence” to support his claims.

Zdunski replied, “It just feels like the country is for everything else and against the Christian way of life. We’re not permitted to live this way, but it seems anyone else is.”

Zdunski was let go for “insubordination,” according to a statement to Fox News Digital from Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES.

David O’Rourke, Ph.D., District Superintendent and CEO, stated that Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES is committed to providing educational and career opportunities in a setting free from illegal discrimination, including harassment and intimidation.

“The plaintiff in this matter was terminated for insubordination after repeatedly refusing directives to attend a mandatory cultural competency training program designed to facilitate a safe environment for students and staff consistent with Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES obligations under New York State and Federal laws.

We concur with the Court of Appeals and the United States District Court’s rulings. We remain dedicated to maintaining a secure and encouraging environment for all students and staff.”

The rights of Zdunski, according to his attorney Kristina S. Heuser, were infringed “for no other reason than his refusal to be indoctrinated with anti-biblical teaching.”

“Even though the lower courts did not rule in his favor, we are not deterred and will seek redress from the U.S. Supreme Court,” she added, according to reports.

Heuser went on to elaborate in remarks to Fox News Digital.

“We are really upset with how the Second Circuit handled the case,” Heuser stated.

“Religious freedom was a cornerstone of this country’s founding, but today’s believers, particularly those who identify as Christians, face some of the harshest discrimination.”

“To avoid attending training his employer was mandating on “cultural sensitivity” towards transgender people, Mr. Zdunski requested a religious accommodation.”

Heuser continued, “Mr. Zdunski was an account clerk. He sat in a cubicle and worked on spreadsheets. The training had absolutely nothing to do with what his job required. The Left would do anything to impose its ideology on everyone, including taking away people’s jobs if they don’t agree with it.

Mr. Zdunski exercised his unalienable right under the applicable federal law to refuse to submit to teaching that conflicts with what Scripture teaches in order to uphold his genuinely held religious convictions. The Court’s decision was obviously incorrect, so we plan to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take up Mr. Zdunski’s case.”

There has been a greater drive for diversity, equity, and inclusion in American businesses in recent years. (DEI).

But according to a new study, employers are eliminating DEI roles even though workers are leaving these industries faster than those working in non-DEI positions.

According to the Revelio Labs survey, organizations that had layoffs last year eliminated DEI employees at a rate of 33% compared to a 21% drop for other roles.

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