LGBT pride flag does not create hostile work environment, Hillsborough's attorney says
TAMPA — A LGBT pride flag hanging outside the Hillsborough County government center does not create a hostile work environment for Christians.
That's the legal opinion the county attorney's office shared with commissioners and the administration on Thursday.
Commissioners voted 5-1 on June 15 to raise the flag for the rest of the month, which is Pride Month, to honor and pay tribute to the victims of the mass shooting of Pulse, a gay night club in Orlando.
But the next day, Commissioner Stacy White, who missed the vote, said he received an anonymous complaint from a concerned county employee. In a voicemail, she said "as a Christian, that flag is so very offensive to me that I cannot bear to go into the office." White asked the human resources department to review the flag, which he called a "divisive political symbol" and whether it may be a liability for the county.
In a memo released Thursday, though, Assistant County Attorney Jennie Granahan Tarr said it is not.
"As for a religious harrassment claim, there must be evidence that the harrassment was motivated by religion. Only actions 'based on' religion satisfy the legal standard for a hostile work environment," Fletcher wrote in a memo. "Based on the review as referenced above, the BOCC's action was not based upon, or motivated by, religion and did not meet the legal standard of creating a hostile work environment."