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Gay man fired from US Library of Congress claims he was harassed

Peter TerVeer says boss cited passages from the Bible condemning homosexuality
Peter_TerVeer
Photo: Washington Blade

Peter TerVeer was promoted three times after he began working as a management analyst at the Library of Congress’s Office of the Inspector General in 2008.

Then his boss found out he was gay.

TerVeer, who was fired from his job last week, has filed a discrimination complaint which states that he was harassed and humiliated by a supervisor who repeatedly cited passages from the Bible condemning homosexuality.

The complaint, filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), may be followed by a discrimination lawsuit against the library.

TerVeer states in an affidavit obtained by the Washington Blade: 'I contend that I have been subjected to a hostile work environment by [supervisor John R. Mech] since August 2009 on the basis of my sex (male), sexual orientation (homosexual), and religion (non-denominational Christian/Agnostic). I maintain that Mr. Mech has acted to impose his religious beliefs on me.'

TerVeer states that he began receiving negative job performance reviews after Mech, an accountant and lead auditor for the library’s Office of The Inspector General, learned he was gay through his daughter who had become Facebook friends with TerVeer. Mech's daughter quickly de-friended TerVeer after asking him if he was 'one of those weirdos.'

'The first year and a half, almost two years I was there I was closeted and essentially I was kind of the golden boy in the office,' TerVeer told The Blade. 'He took me under his wing and we had a cordial discourse. And he appeared to come off initially as really nice. ... All of a sudden now, every time I’m going into his office he’s starting off with a religious conversation. Then it comes out where he pointed out he was a believer with a literal translation of the Bible. Then he goes specifically into homosexuality.”

A spokesperson for the library said neither Mech or anyone else would be able to comment on the case since it is a personnel matter.

TerVeer said the hostile work environment forced him to go on unpaid disability leave last fall. In January, the library refused to extend the leave and declined to transfer him so that he would no longer have to work under Mech.

The library’s Inspector General said he approved TerVeer’s firing on grounds that TerVeer had been absent from work without approved leave for 37 consecutive days.

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