Regarding his job performance, his legal complaint says that not only was his work "highly regarded within the company," but that general manager Jennifer Grillo publicly acknowledged the fact. The complaint also says that Ardigo, rather than being a "disruptive" employee, "had been thanked several times for his productive support."
His suit seeks damages of $1 million.
How could any company today allow the kind of comments that Ardigo alleges and not expect to get sued?
"It's more common than you'd think," says Walker Harman, Jr., Ardigo's attorney. A boss's ego, he says, "can be a powerful driver. You believe that you're untouchable, that you're not violating any law." Highly creative people, he says, "often think that they treat their people so well that they'll never be called out; that because they're so good to their gay employees--ostensibly advantaging a disadvantaged group," their liberality gives them permission to say anything they want.
Ardigo says that when he approached a member of the company's senior management with his concerns about Burch's alleged statements, he was told, "Well, he's the owner of the company."
Ardigo says his goal now is to obtain employment with an organization "that takes discrimination seriously and treats their employees in an equitable and equal manner."