The internet has been left in shock after a man shared that his female friend wasn’t allowed to rent an apartment with him because of her job.
In a post on the popular Reddit forum r/antiwork that’s gone viral, user WBoluyt shared the story, which now has more than 18,000 upvotes and thousands of comments.
He explained: “My best friend and I have been discussing renting a 2 bed 2 bath and becoming roommates. I am a gay man. My best friend is a straight woman. She teaches orchestra at a private Christan school. I think you can see where this is going.”
He explained that his female friend has a clause in her hiring contract that prohibits her from cohabiting with a man unless they are married.
“It doesn’t matter that I’m gay (in fact that might make it worse), that we have separate bedrooms and bathrooms, or that she has a boyfriend,” wrote the Redditor.
“It’s absolutely mind-boggling that in the 21st century, an employer can dictate your personal life like this,” he wrote: “My friend is crestfallen, and I am too. I’m sure we could try to fight this, but she doesn’t want to rock the boat too much – outside of this she loves her job and she loves the kids.”
In an article on employment law, Michael J. Borrelli of Borrelli & Associates explains that employers do legally have the right to make hiring and firing decisions based on where staff live.
Usually, this is more likely to be in relation to proximity to the job and the time a commute might take, but the article states: “As long as an employer’s reason for firing or not hiring does not fall into a protected category, they have a right to let you go.”
Employees and applicants are protected from employment discrimination based on the protected categories of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexuality, age, disability and genetic information.
“How on earth is that a legal clause for employment? That is 1000 percent wrong,” wrote one Reddit user. While another commenter said: “Why does she have to disclose her living arrangements anyway? How would they know.”
“Obviously, as everyone else has said, just lie,” wrote another commenter: “But also, I’d be heavily suggesting to your friend to start looking for a new job if this is true.”
“It’s not lying if they make you lie,” said another comment.
Despite many calls for the woman to simply lie to her employer, one commenter was not impressed with the suggestion that she should need to hide her living arrangements: “I agree with lying to them. But at the same time – and I can’t say this aggressively enough – she shouldn’t have to lie. It’s none of their business,” wrote the Reddit user.
Another Reddit user pointed out a potential loophole in the contract, citing the definition of cohabitation.
According to the legal definition, cohabitation is: “A living arrangement in which an unmarried couple lives together in a long-term relationship that resembles a marriage,” meaning that living with a friend as a roommate would not fall into this category.
Newsweek has reached out to WBoluyt for comment.