Jonathan Zeng, a music teacher, has accused the Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy of changing their minds about hiring him because he's gay.
Zeng says Cincinnati Hills, a nondenominational Christian school, offered him a teaching position last week, several days of interviews and observing him while he led a third-grade class. But then, just hours after he accepted the job, Zeng says that school officials called back with just one more question.
"Are you gay?" they wanted to know.
Zeng asked why the question was being asked ,and says school officials told him that Cincinnati Hills has a policy against employing teachers who live as homosexuals because they would be around children and the school believes in the sanctity of marriage.
And then there was no job.
Zeng wrote a letter of protest describing the conversation to the school’s board of trustees, saying the actions of the school were "very painful.”
Cincinnati Hills officials declined to answer questions about the incident and wouldn't even confirm whether Zeng had been offered a job and then lost it. School spokesbigot, Liz Bronson, also would not say whether the school has a policy of not employing The Gays, and, instead, read a written statement by school officials:
“CHCA keeps confidential all matters discussed within a candidate’s interview. We’re looking into this matter, although the initial information we have seen contains inaccuracies. We will not be discussing individual hiring decisions or interviews. “
Of course, she failed to name any of the "inaccuracies."
For the time being, Jonathan Zeng teaches part-time at Corryville Catholic, and has taught at schools or as an opera outreach worker for about five years, but he is still seeking full-time work and performance opportunities.
Sad to say, but federal laws probably won’t protect Zeng from job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but Scott E. Knox, a Cincinnati lawyer who specializes in employment and discrimination law, says a a local ordinance might.
Cincinnati has a Human Rights ordinance, which went into effect in 2006, makes it a criminal violation for Cincinnati employers to discriminate against someone who is LGBT.
On the down side, the ordinance has not yet been used in court yet, and exempts religious institutions, though Know says it might still apply to a private school. It would depend how the school obtained its tax-exempt status, either as a school or as a place of worship. The local protections against discrimination apply to a school, even a private one.
Federal anti-discrimination laws protect people from employment discrimination based on age, race or ethnicity, disability and gender, but does not protect based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act [ENDA], which has been introduced in nearly every US Congress in the last eighteen years, would protect workers in companies larger than 15 employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but it has not been passed.
One more way the government and the GOP controlled Congress are failing to protect all Americans from discrimination.
Hopefully, this will change, one day, soon, and the Jonathan Zengs of the United Sates will never again be asked about their sexual orientation, and never again be fired or denied employment, because of it.