Under both New York City and state laws, no one can be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation. Like race, religion, national origin and a variety of other protected classes, if an employee says that he or she is experiencing workplace discrimination because of his or her sexual orientation, an employer must do what it can to remedy the hostile work environment. Moreover, if an employee reports discrimination, he or she cannot be fired in retaliation. Unfortunately what an employer is supposed to do and what it actually does is not always the same.
A gay area manager for Rockport shoes has filed a lawsuit in a Brooklyn court after he says that he was harassed and fired because he had revealed his sexual orientation. The 28-year-old from Staten Island was fired earlier this year after he was forced to tell a boss he already believed to be homophobic that he was gay. The area manager said that he was falsely accused of sexually harassing a female employee and told his boss that he was gay while trying to defend himself.
According to the lawsuit, the young man’s boss then retaliated by accusing the area manager of inappropriately boosting sales. When the 28-year-old tried to report the hostile work environment his boss was creating to the human resources department he was suspended without notice. The following day, the young man was fired.
No one should be discriminated against at work, but some employers refuse to follow local and state laws that protect employees. It can be incredibly difficult to be wrongfully terminated, which is why employees who believe they have been discriminated against work with employment law attorneys to hold their former employers responsible.
Source: Staten Island Advance, “Shoe firm trod on Staten Islander because he’s gay, suit says,” Frank Donnelly, Oct. 22, 2013