Wesley Wernecke is taking his former employer, Eventique – an events company catering to massive clients such as Spotify, Twitter, Amazon and Nike – to trial at Manhattan Supreme Court after his boss “immediately began systematically shutting him out of the job” and cut his salary after finding out he was gay.
Just a week after he was hired, his boss, Henry ‘Liron’ David, overheard a conversation between Wernecke and a fellow employee about his wedding ring. The co-worker made a comment that the jewellery was very “flashy” and “girly” and asked him if his wife’s was similar. Wernecke explained that his partner, a man named Evan, did indeed have a similar ring, a statement that spurred boss David to begin his bitter tirade against him.
Immediately David began the process of alienating Wernecke from other members of staff by excluding him from conferences as well as after-work drinks and denying him new business opportunities. Furthermore, Wernecke’s salary was halved, being cut from $145,000 to $70,000 in mid-September just three months after he had begun the job. It was later revealed that his salary had been in fact reduced even further to $58,000, 40% less than what he was originally promised.
Court documents viewed by the New York Post claim; “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.”
When questioned on the lowering of his salary to a mere 60% of his original agreed upon, Wernecke alleges that boss David told him he “couldn’t sleep at night thinking you [Wernecke] were being paid so much more than the other females in the office.” In relation to the charges Wernecke’s lawyer, Anthony Consiglio, explained that this statement was to “reinforce Wernecke’s understanding that David considered Wernecke to be a sexual deviant and unfit to work at Eventique.”
It all came to a head October 4 this year when Wernecke was fired from Eventique with David claiming they couldn’t afford to keep him, citing “errors” and “deficiencies” in his work performance as the reason for his dismissal. The mistreatment he suffered at the hands of his boss and company owner led Wernecke to begin seeing a psychiatrist for the first time in his life.
Apart from the obvious issue that David believes it is acceptable to pay female and LGBT+ employees less than their straight male counterparts and the damages he has caused to the former employee, what Wernecke is alleging is also a direct violation of the liberal anti-discrimination positions written into New York law to protect LGBT+ workers. David’s layer, Gena Zaiderman, has shut down Wernecke’s claims of discrimination in the workplace stating that the claims made against her client are “shocking” and “baseless”.
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