BOCES employee: I was fired for refusing to attend LGBTQ training

Worker says training conflicts with his religion
Posted at 5:25 PM, Jun 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-05 23:07:28-04

A veteran employee of Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES says he was fired from his job of seven years for refusing to attend mandatory training on LGBTQ issues. 

Raymond Zdunski of Ashville tells 7 Eyewitness News he was terminated from his position as senior account clerk last week for insubordination. Zdunski, who is a deacon at Fluvanna Community Church in Jamestown, says he was an exemplary employee with a spotless record.

"I feel this training goes against the teachings of the Bible," Zdunski tells 7 Eyewitness News. "To accept these teachings is to accept sin. God taught us not to accept sin."

According to Zdunski, the training was initiated because a person in BOCES is going through the transition process. Zdunski says the training, as explained to him, covered LGBTQ history, culture and the use of appropriate terminology. 

Zdunski says he has been in contact with Alliance Defending Freedom, a nonprofit conservative Christian legal organization that, according to its website, "advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith."

The 7 Eyewitness legal expert, Florina Altshiler says, he might not have a case.

“Had they not fired him, they would have exposed themselves to liability,” said Altshiler.

If BOCES had not trained Zdunski and kept him employed, and there was an incident, Altshiler says the school could have been sued. 

In a statement to 7 Eyewitness News, Brian Liebenow, the executive director of labor relations and general counsel for Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES said, "Please be advised that it is Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES' policy to not comment on personnel matters. Accordingly, we do not have a comment or statement to offer at this time."


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