President Biden has fired Sharon Gustafson, the Trump-appointed general counsel of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission who focused much of her work on combating “religious discrimination” in the workplace.
Bloomberg Law reports that the Biden Administration originally asked Gustafson to resign earlier this week but she refused. In a letter to Biden explaining her refusal to resign, Gustafson wrote that her resignation would lead to a “suppression of our work promoting religious freedom.”
The Washington Post adds that under Gustafson’s counsel last year, the EEOC sued the grocery chain Kroger on behalf of two workers in Arkansas who said wearing an apron embroidered with a small rainbow-colored heart, which they believed to be a pro-LGBT symbol, violated their religious beliefs.
“One of the issues she made as her hallmark, was the issue of discrimination against religious minorities, the law requiring religious accommodation of beliefs,” said David Lopez, former EEOC general counsel under President Obama. “Some lawyers from the conservative Christian right view this right as a conflict with requiring nondiscrimination against LGBTQ people.”
The Post also obtained a copy of Gustafson’s goodbye email to EEOC staff in which she wrote “I have for the first time, after 50 years of employment, had my first opportunity to experience what my terminated clients experience. Whatever else it is, it’s good to have this firsthand perspective.”
Watch a video below of Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) grill Gustafson on her views on LGBT discrimination at her 2018 confirmation hearing.