A lesbian couple from Alberta, western Canada, voiced their complaint about getting laid off from their emergency services job and the reason was that they were “too gay.”
It was alleged that Sheri and Alyssa Monk were discriminated and treated differently to their heterosexual colleagues and the lesbian couples were forced to quit their jobs at Pincher Creek Emergency Services in Pincher Creek back in July last year.
The lesbian couple told colleagues offended by the use of word “wife.”
The couple has since filed a complaint with Alberta’s Human Rights Commission about how they’ve been treated. Sheri explained to CBC News’ Go, Public investigative team, that she and her partner, one of five married couples in their detachment, were called into a meeting with then-deputy chief Margaret Cox in May 2017.
Sheri reported that “We approached people and apologised for being too gay. We wanted to know what we had done wrong.”
She also explained that the conversation started with, ‘This isn’t because you’re gay, but there are some people that will never accept same-sex marriage and are offended by the use of the word wife,’”.
“We asked would this apply to everybody … this manager said, ‘No because you’re the only couple we’ve had complaints about.’ We were also the only gay couple.”
They were made to go around apologising for something they didn’t do and did not know about, “We approached people and apologised for being too gay. We wanted to know what we had done wrong.” How ridiculous is that?
The couple’s romance kicked off when they met at work in 2014 and got married in 2016.
Their relationship wasn’t made known to their colleagues not until they moved in together in 2015. After the meeting in May 2017, Sheri and Alyssa started to record conversations with their colleagues to provide evidence of discrimination.
The lesbian couple’s superior could be heard in one of the snippets, which was made public by CBC News saying “I think public displays of affection, whether it’s a physical or verbal stand out more—because you’re both women—than it does in the heterosexual population.”
Emergency services department denies discriminating against the lesbian couple
The couples admitted to making inappropriate jokes and also agreed to the use of explicit language at work, but corrected that the comments were in line with remarks made by other employees — in-house jokes and teases.
A former co-worker supported the lesbian couple’s claims. Ex-colleague James Raffan admitted that some religious staff were “offended by their presence,” and he also added “became more of a source of conflict.”
Pincher Creek Emergency Services immediately denied discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.