Employee fired after refusing to work over Roe v. Wade ruling: 'I'm in mourning'
NEW YORK - A Universal Music Group employee said he was fired from his job for refusing to work after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month, and claimed the termination showed the company did not support its workers "speaking out" about abortion rights.
Michael Lopez, a now-former production coordinator at Universal Music Enterprises, attempted to shame the company in a LinkedIn post last week, saying he is a "queer brown person" who was "fired during Pride month for speaking up in defense of abortion rights."
"Last Friday, like countless other folks, I was devastated by the news of the supreme court’s attack on abortion rights," Lopez wrote. "Paired with the flood of anti-queer and anti-trans legislation, it’s been hard to process how company’s [sic] expect us to be productive while our rights are being stripped away."
Lopez said that every Friday, one of his tasks was to "process reports for upcoming releases" and he would then have to email his work to a list of 275 people. However, after the court's ruling, he decided not to complete the task and emailed his coworkers letting them know.
"I didn't do them today," Lopez wrote in the email of the neglected work. "I'm in mourning due to the attack on people with uteruses in the US. Federally guaranteed access to abortion is gone."
"Vivendi and Universal Music Group must stop donating to anti-abortion, anti-queer and anti-trans politicians," he wrote. "Politicians like Marsha Blackburn, Ken Buck, Victoria Spartz, etc. Or expect more unproductive days."
"Yours in fury, Michael Lopez," he signed off.
Lopez wrote in the LinkedIn post that he received several supportive messages from other coworkers after he sent the email, and that a manager called to tell him to take the rest of the day off. He added that he believed there was a "good possibility" he would be fired based on the response he received from management.
He said he received a "surprise Zoom video chat with HR" the following Monday.
"I was being let go for (paraphrasing) ‘Not doing your job, disrupting the day of 275 people and poor judgement,’" Lopez wrote.
Lopez said he would then send a follow-up email to the one he had previously sent to coworkers, informing them of his termination.
"Just got fired for this email from Friday, so they’re letting you know where they stand on employees speaking out on politicians that support marginalization for folks like me," he wrote in the email. "A brown queer person terminated during Pride month speaking in support of abortion rights. Seems like that’s exactly what America is all about right now."
He concluded his LinkedIn post by saying he did not speak for his company, but for himself and employees who will "suffer under these discriminatory laws."
"Their actions today, their silence on Friday are indicative of their motivations," Lopez wrote of his former employer. "Profit at all costs. Solidarity, only if it's profitable. And above all of that is maintaining the status quo and saying f--k you to the working class."
A Universal Music Group spokesperson told the New York Post that company policy prohibits them from discussing Lopez's personnel record, but that the allegations in the LinkedIn post are "inaccurate."
"UMG has a long record of support for women’s issues," the spokesperson said. "As we wrote to our US employees, UMG views reproductive health care as essential. In the wake of the recent US Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v Wade, the company has extended its efforts to assure that these important healthcare services remain accessible to employees. We also financially support non-profit groups working in this area and offer a match for employee’s contributions to those groups, as well."