A former LDS church member has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging church leaders have used a homophobic slur against him and others during a visit to the church.
In a letter sent Monday to the agency, former LDS member and attorney Michael P. Miller said the church has “perceived” his “expectation to be treated fairly by the Church” and is “continuing to perpetuate” this perception.
“It is not surprising that you would feel discriminated against in your employment because of your race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by the federal anti-harassment statute,” Miller wrote.
“Your continued discriminatory behavior and actions demonstrate a continued and ongoing pattern of discrimination against you and other members of your family and friends.”
The letter, which was obtained by ESPN, says that while the church does have a long-standing policy of not using such words or behavior in the workplace, it has not always been consistent.
For instance, a statement from the LDS church’s Office of Public Affairs stated that it does not “adopt any form of exclusion or discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin” and that “discrimination is never tolerated by the church.”
It adds that the church is “committed to fostering a culture of tolerance and equality that is consistent with our core values and the sacred and moral precepts of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
A spokesperson for the LDS Church told ESPN that “this particular issue has not been a priority for the church in the past, but the church will continue to look to improve the way we treat all people.”
The church has said it has zero tolerance for any discrimination and that it will “ensure that we always have an open, honest, and inclusive environment for everyone to express their personal feelings and beliefs.”