MONTREAL – The borough of Lachine has suspended one of its blue collar workers for reportedly making homophobic slurs.
The employee has worked as a driver at a public works building in Lachine for four years.
On Sunday morning, a little over a week ago, the employee was taking a break and watching TV news reports about the Orlando shooting massacre in a gay nightclub, that left 49 victims dead.
The employee apparently made homophobic slurs, saying it was too bad more people weren’t killed and that homosexuality was against God’s will.
His colleagues immediately reported him, and last Friday, the city suspended him.
Benoît Glorieux, spokesperson for the borough, told Global News they informed Montreal police, the city’s human resources department and the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence.
Officials are conducting an internal investigation, and they are meeting this week to determine the man’s punishment.
Glorieux said there is a chance the employee could be fired.
The city says it is taking the comments seriously, and that administration officials sat down with employees last week to talk about homophobia. An extra security guard was also hired to work the weekend shift as a precaution.
The employee has never received any other suspensions during his time as a blue-collar employee.
Gay rights groups hope the city takes a hard line.
“We can’t just let it fly, it has to have some consequences,” says Jean-Sebastien Boudreault of Montreal Pride.
The group organized a vigil last week in honour of the Orlando shooting victims.
“Now we see this guy a city employee saying I wish more people died in one of the most horrific shootings in the States,” Boudreault said. “Please just go put him back to school, educate him.”
The employee should find out his fate within the next two weeks.