Hardy “Lex” Housh worked at Home Depot for 25 years. But shortly after he added his domestic partner to his insurance coverage, the company fired him. In a recent court filing, Housh said that Home Depot targeted gay men for termination “in an attempt to meet a quota for reducing its workforce” after the 2007 housing crisis.
Housh’s complaint states, “After learning that plaintiff was gay, defendant district manager Jeff Grooms increasingly tormented plaintiff by use of wrongful discipline (i.e., false write-ups that were backdated), ridicule during walkthroughs, outward physical conduct (i.e., ignoring plaintiff’s suggestions and comments during management meetings; making improper sexual gestures with his hands and body when plaintiff was near him), encouraging and participating in false write-ups during 2011 and, when plaintiff would not quit, by terminating him with a false write-up.”
Stephen Holmes, a Home Depot spokesperson, defended the company to the Huffington Post yesterday, saying, “We strongly disagree with Mr. Housh’s claims and we will address them in the proper forum. The fact is that we’re proud of our record for supporting our LGBT associates and maintaining our commitment to diversity throughout our workforce.”
If Housh’s claims prove to have merit, it will paint a much different portrait of the home improvement giant than what we have come to expect. Three years ago, the American Family Association staged a boycott against the company, claiming that it promoted a homosexual agenda. And just last month, a video of two gay men getting engaged in a Salt Lake City Home Depot went viral.