News: Employees fired ahead of Pride Month for including gender pronouns in email signatures? Deets inside

Diversity

Employees fired ahead of Pride Month for including gender pronouns in email signatures? Deets inside

The university's spokesperson shared that the institution has never terminated an employment relationship solely on the grounds of pronoun usage in staff email signatures.
Employees fired ahead of Pride Month for including gender pronouns in email signatures? Deets inside

Two employees at a small Christian university in New York were terminated for their refusal to eliminate gender pronouns from their email signatures, before the onset of Pride Month.

According to The Independent, Raegan Zelaya and Shua Wilmot, who served as residence hall directors at Houghton University, were dismissed from their roles in April after including "she/her" and "he/him" in their email signatures.

Zelaya received a termination letter from the school, stating that she was fired shortly before the end of the semester due to her refusal to remove pronouns from her email signature. Another reason cited for her termination was her criticism of the decision in the student newspaper.

The termination letter has gained significant traction on social media as it continues to circulate widely. In response to the situation, a spokesperson from the university, which maintains an affiliation with the conservative branch of the Methodist Church, informed The New York Times on Friday that the institution "has never terminated an employment relationship based solely on the use of pronouns in staff email signatures."

Furthermore, the spokesperson added, "Over the past years, we’ve required anything extraneous be removed from email signatures, including Scripture quotes."

Both Zelaya and Wilmot, who were former residence hall directors, clarified that they are not transgender. They explained that their choice to include pronouns in their bios was intended to promote inclusivity, as people often couldn't discern their genders solely based on their first names in email communication.

Last month, Wilmot justified his decision in a Facebook post.

“I would just like to express how profoundly grateful I am to have enough privilege to stand up for truth and justice at the expense of a job,” he wrote. “If any of you are ever in a position where you believe your employer is asking you to do something unjust or unethical, please reach out to me and others for encouragement and empowerment,” read Wilmot’s Facebook post.

In April, an open letter signed by nearly 600 Houghton University alumni criticised the dismissals, viewing them as a manifestation of a larger shift away from multiculturalism within the institution. The closure of a multicultural student centre was highlighted as an example in the letter.

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Topics: Diversity, #Layoffs, #HRTech, #HRCommunity

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