Was Alexander Bruce fired for being gay? (Pic: supplied)

Was Alexander Bruce fired for being gay? (Pic: supplied)

A man is claiming that he was fired from a top private school in Johannesburg after his supervisor discovered that he’s gay by snooping on his Facebook profile.

Alexander Bruce told Mambaonline that he started working as a security guard at the school in May, on a three month contract.

The contract came to an end in August after which he was promised further employment on a contract basis. Shortly after, Bruce took sick leave for a week to have his appendix removed.

Upon being released from hospital, he was contacted by his supervisor, who told him that he had bad news.

Bruce claims: “He told me that he came out of a meeting and said, ‘we decided not to renew your contract. We went onto your Facebook profile and you’re a moffie and we can’t employ moffies at the school. It’s school policy.'”

Bruce said that the incident has left him devastated. “I’m embarrassed. Not because I’m gay but it’s a slap in the face. What does my sexual orientation have to do with my job?” he asked.

Not only is he out of a job, but he also lost the flat he moved into to be closer to the school on the basis of the promised employment.

Bruce also claims that he heard his supervisor making homophobic remarks about other people on numerous occasions before he was fired.

Mambaonline knows the school and the name of the supervisor, but has decided to not publish this information as we have been unable to get comment from the school, which is closed until next week.

Bruce has since contacted LGBT rights group GALA, which has put him in touch with Labour Research Services to assist him in resolving the matter. The organisations have sent a letter on his behalf to the school requesting an urgent meeting when it re-opens.

“It’s not clear if the school’s management is aware of why he may have been dismissed,” GALA’s Anthony Manion told Mambaonline.

“Both GALA and Labour Research Services have made themselves available to assist with meetings between Alexander and the school,” he said. “If we can’t come to a resolution then we will assist Alexander with taking the matter to the CCMA.”

Bruce would still like to get his job back. “I loved my job,” he said. “I learnt a lot there. I enjoyed working with the kids and the kids adored me.”

It’s not the first time he’s faced discrimination in the workplace because of his sexuality. In 2009, Bruce went to the media after a Home Affairs office refused to register his same-sex marriage.

The publicity around the issue meant that he was effectively outed to his employer and fired for being gay from his job as a depot manager. “They told me it was bad for the image of the company to have me work there,” explained Bruce.

Manion said that employment discrimination was “an increasing area focus” for GALA, which is working on creating tools that can be used by workers and employers to help them understand the rights of LGBT people in the workplace.

Mambaonline will report on any further developments on this story.

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