Ford contractor says he was fired for anti-gay remarks

Detroit News and wire services

Dearborn — A former contractor for Ford Motor Co. has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that says he was fired for criticizing the automaker’s efforts to support the gay community.

The complaint was filed Wednesday by the nonprofit legal group Liberty Institute on behalf of Thomas Banks, of Ypsilanti. It names Dearborn-based Ford and Troy-based RGBSI, an engineering services and workforce management business.

If Ford is allowed to get away with firing Mr. Banks over this comment, we fear that every person of faith will be punished for talking about his or her faith in the workplace,” Hiram Sasser, Liberty Institute director of litigation, said in a statement.

Banks, a product engineer hired in 2011, said he received an online article from Ford in July, which shared the automaker’s policy to promote pro-homosexual ideas. Banks left an online comment in the feedback section disagreeing with Ford’s views.

“Endorsing and promoting sodomy is of benefit to no one,” Banks said in the comment. “This topic is disruptive to the workplace and is an assault on Christians and morality, as well as antithetical to our design and our survival. Immoral sexual conduct should not be a topic for an automotive manufacturer to endorse or promote.”

He went on to say cultures that promote sodomy have never survived.

“Heterosexual behavior creates life — homosexual behavior leads to death,” he said.

Banks said he was fired Aug. 4 after being told he may have violated Ford’s anti-harassment policy.

“I was stunned to realize that I was fired over expressing my faith in a single comment,” Banks said in a statement.

Ford said Friday in a statement it hadn’t seen the complaint but believes the matter “ultimately is between the individual and their agency employer.”

The automaker said: “Ford’s anti-harassment policy was created to foster a respectful, inclusive work environment for all, and we expect employees and agency personnel to act in accordance with this policy.”

A person who answered the telephone Friday morning at RGBSI said there was no comment before hanging up.

Banks said he responded to a July newsletter that shared Ford’s support and an employee resource group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees. He said he submitted a comment that said Ford should be ashamed of endorsing and promoting homosexuality.

Banks said he was fired the same day he was informed his comments violated the company’s anti-harassment policy.