Showing posts with label LGBT Worker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LGBT Worker. Show all posts

November 16, 2019

Gay Man Suing 'Eventique' for Reducing His Pay to Be in Par With Women In The Office

By Liam Knox
A former employee at a high-profile event company in New York claims in a discrimination complaint filed this week that he was fired because of his sexuality after his boss told him his salary was being cut in half because he was being paid "so much more than the other females in the office."
The ex-employee, Wesley Wernecke, says Eventique tried to alienate and degrade him after CEO Henry Liron David learned he was gay, said Wernecke's lawyer, Anthony Consiglio.
Wesley Wernecke
Wesley Wer.                     Courtesy Anthony P. Consiglio
“Wesley was personally recruited by this employer to be a senior producer, and once he learned he was gay, the employer began shutting him out of the business,” Consiglio said in an email to NBC News.
David’s lawyer, Gena Zaiderman, denied the allegations, calling them “baseless.”
Wernecke had just begun to work for Eventique, which stages events for high-profile clients, such as Nike, Twitter, and Amazon, when David began to push him out of his role, the complaint filed Wednesday in Manhattan Supreme Court states.
Wernecke left his previous job at an event company in Boston, where he had worked for more than three years, to join Eventique in June. A week after he was hired, Wernecke’s coworkers commented on his “girly” engagement ring. When a co-worker asked if his wife wore a similar ring, Wernecke replied that his partner, Evan, did.
From that point on, tension developed between Wernecke and his co-workers and David that had not existed before, according to the complaint.
In the interim months, the complaint alleges, Wernecke was ostracized and excluded from professional meetings and office social events, passed over for assignments with large commissions and subject to discriminatory remarks.
David intentionally excluded Wernecke from his weekly practice of welcoming employees every Friday with “a fist bump and a greeting of ‘Shabbat Shalom,’” walking past Wernecke’s desk without acknowledging him, the complaint says. He also would exclude Wernecke from company lunches and frequent after-work drinks with “the fellas” in his office, the lawsuit states, and at one point, David gave an account Wernecke had been working on to another employee without consulting Wernecke.
The alleged discrimination took a toll on Wernecke’s mental health, forcing him to book an appointment with a psychiatrist in August for the first time in his life, the document says, and he began taking an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication to cope with the situation.
“David took pains to mark Wernecke as different from the other employees through these physical demonstrations,” the complaint alleges. “Neither Wernecke's professional experience and accomplishments nor the goodwill he brought to Eventique's work earned him equality.” Eventually, David called Wernecke into his office to tell him his salary was being cut from the $145,000 that was initially agreed upon to $70,000.
“I couldn't sleep at night thinking that you were being paid so much more than the other females in the office,” David told Wernecke, according to the complaint.
Not long after, Wernecke discovered that David had lowered his salary even more, to $58,000 or 40 percent less than the starting salary he was promised when he left his former job, the lawsuit says.
“David simply could not bear the thought that Eventique would continue to be represented by a gay man,” the complaint states, referring to Wernecke’s Oct. 4 firing.

April 24, 2019

The Supreme Court Takes Up Cases That Will Determine Wether Gays Have Worker Protection

The Supreme Court on Monday took up job discrimination cases that could for the first time resolve at a national level whether gay, bisexual and transgender workers can be fired based on their identity.
The cases come as federal courts as well as independent agencies within the Trump administration remain divided over whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which says that employers may not discriminate based on “sex,” prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
About half of the country’s LGBT population lives in states that allow employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, according to MAP, an LGBT advocacy think tank.
The Supreme Court on Monday took up job discrimination cases that could for the first time resolve at a national level whether lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers can be fired based on their identity.

The cases come as federal courts as well as independent agencies within the Trump administration remain divided over whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which says that employers may not discriminate based on “sex,” prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

There is no national law that explicitly bars discrimination on those grounds. State and local laws barring such discrimination do exist. About half of the country’s LGBT population lives in states that allow employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, according to MAP, an LGBT advocacy think tank.

“The impact of this decision will have very real consequences for millions of LGBTQ people across the country,” Sarah Warbelow, the legal director for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, said in a statement. 

The Trump administration has argued before the Supreme Court that Title VII does not apply to LGBT individuals. Meanwhile, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is also a part of the administration, maintains the opposite stance. Last term, the Supreme Court had the opportunity to hear a case on the issue but declined.

“There’s definitely a lot at stake here,” James Esseks, a civil rights attorney who served served as counsel in Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark 2015 case affirming the right to same-sex marriage, told CNBC over the summer. “Are LGBT people protected from discrimination in a way that most other people in the country are, or are we not?”

While the court has never ruled on whether employers may discriminate on sexual orientation, in the 1989 case Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins the court held that it is impermissible to discriminate based on gender stereotypes.

Jason Habinsky, a partner in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the New York office of Haynes and Boone, said that a ruling granting protection to LGBT employees would not affect many companies who already have policies in place shielding them from discrimination. For other companies, he said, it could be a wake-up call.

“This could serve as an alarm bell for certain employers who are not yet protecting those rights, and who fall in those pockets of the country where there are no laws and no protections,” Habinsky said.

The Kavanaugh effect and case histories
The cases are the first on the issue of LGBT rights before a newly constituted court following the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy in July. Kennedy was a champion of gay rights on the court. His replacement on the bench by Justice Brett Kavanaugh could be significant in the court’s eventual decision on the matter.

Sarah Kate Ellis, the CEO of GLAAD, an LGBTQ advocacy group, wrote in a post on Twitter that Trump’s appointment of “anti-LGBTQ judges” made it “clear that we need a constitutional amendment that protects LGBTQ people and all marginalized communities.”

Sarah Kate Ellis
 With Trump stacking the Supreme Court with anti-LGBTQ judges it’s clear that we need a constitutional amendment that protects LGBTQ people and all marginalized communities.
With more than 100 anti-LGBTQ attacks from the Trump Administration, this is exactly why we need to pass the #EqualityAct now and look toward explicitly protecting LGBTQ people with a constitutional amendment. …
10:42 AM - Apr 22, 2019
Twitter Ads info and privacy

104 people are talking about this

The sexual orientation cases concern two employees who argue that they were fired for being gay. In one case, Altitude Express v. Zarda, No. 17-1623, Donald Zarda, who was a skydiving instructor, sued his former employer and alleged that he was fired because of his sexual orientation.

Zarda died in an October 2014 base-jumping accident, but his family pressed forward with the case on his behalf. In early 2018, the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in his favor. A 10-4 majority found that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates the Civil Rights Act.

In another case, Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, No. 17-1618, a child welfare services coordinator is suing Clayton County, a Georgia county south of Atlanta, for terminating him in 2013 after discovering his involvement in an LGBT softball league.
That case had the opposite result as Zarda’s at the appellate level. Bostock’s case was dismissed by a federal district court in Atlanta, and that dismissal was later affirmed by a panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The panel found that discrimination based on sexual orientation is not protected by Title VII. The judges reasoned that “we cannot overrule a prior panel’s holding, regardless of whether we think it was wrong, unless an intervening Supreme Court or Eleventh Circuit en banc decision is issued.”

The 11th Circuit declined to hear the case en banc. In a sharply worded dissent from that denial, Judge Robin Rosenbaum cited a report showing that 25 percent of LGBT Americans reported experiencing workplace discrimination. She accused the majority of relying for precedent on a 1979 case that was decided ten years before Price Waterhouse, the gender stereotyping case.

Price Waterhouse, she wrote, “requires the conclusion that Title VII prohibits discrimination against gay and lesbian individuals because their sexual preferences do not conform to their employers’ views of whom individuals of their respective genders should love.”

The final case the court agreed to take involves Aimee Stephens, a transgender woman who was fired from her job as a funeral director at R.G. and G.R. Harris Funeral Home two weeks after she told her boss that she was a woman. While the other cases involve sexual orientation, Stephens’ case is a dispute concerning her gender identity.

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Stephens’ favor, finding that discrimination “on the basis of transgender and transitioning status is necessarily discrimination on the basis of sex.”

Decisions in the cases are expected by June 2020.

March 7, 2019

Gays in Japan Have Suffered Less Repression so You Had Less Calls For Marriage-That Could All Change Thanks to A BathHouse



Tokyo’s most popular cruising spot for gay men is a seven-story building tucked off a back street near the Shinjuku business and shopping area.

On Friday night, a steady stream of salary-men files quietly inside the 24 Kaikan bathhouse, where pretty much anything goes.
Soak in the sauna then walk semi-naked through the dimmed communal sleeping areas, where futons await.

Sample the sights or lie back and wait for someone who likes you, instructs a guide. Signs posted throughout dictate the only constantly visible rule: “gentlemen who chew gum” will be evicted.

Gays in Japan have suffered less outright repression than in Britain or Ireland
Tokyo has a reputation for being one of the world’s more uptight capitals but it hosts one of its most diverse concentration of gay clubs and bars: Shinjuku’s 2-Chome, home to the 24-Kaikan.
The area has coexisted for decades side by side with the straight world beyond its borders.

Lack of activism
This arrangement is, in many ways, very Japanese: discreet, compartmentalized; fastidiously careful about order and details.

Live and let live as long as the outward appearance of things is maintained.
Though tormented by the familiar agonies of personal identity and secrecy, gays in Japan have suffered less outright repression than in Britain or Ireland.
When police there were arresting men in toilets and public parks, Japan didn’t even have an anti-sodomy law.

Nor did it have what Mark McLelland, author of Homosexuality in Modern Japan: Cultural Myths and Social Realities, calls the “anti-homosexual rage” of many Christian cultures, the lethal fuel for homophobia and the “hyper violence” of gay-bashing incidents.

But if Japan has been easier going about its sexual preferences, it also lacks the political and social activism that helped transform the lives of homosexuals elsewhere.
There are still just a tiny handful of openly gay lawmakers
Homosexuals are still not legally recognized in Japanese civil law, and civil unions are prohibited. Gayness is still largely seen as a personal lifestyle choice, not something to be flaunted or argued over on the streets and in parliament.  

A group of people is now challenging that status quo.
Thirteen same-sex couples across Japan have gone to court to demand the right to marry. If they win, Japan will be the first Asian country to grant that right.

Suitably enough, they began their claim on Valentine’s Day.
They include a Japanese citizen, Ai Nakajima, who married her German partner, Tina Baumann, in Berlin.

The lack of legal status for their marriage in Japan makes life difficult, laments Baumann. For one thing, she said, if either one gets sick they may be blocked from hospital visits.

This legal fight is backed by a group of corporate lawyers who fear that Japan’s lack of sexual diversity while lagging behind the rest of the developed world, could also be bad for business.
“For the Japanese economy, it is very important to legalize the right (of gay people) to marry,” said Miki Sakakibara, president of the Japan In-House Lawyers Association.
“If you have a diversified environment it will be productive and competitive. This would be great for Japan.”


Public viewpoint
Signs of a shift in public perceptions are growing.
A small number of local governments across the country recognize same-sex partnerships. Last year the Tokyo government banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Yet, while most Japanese people support more LGBT rights, political representation is strikingly low.
There are still just a tiny handful of openly gay lawmakers.

Some politicians, meanwhile, seem stuck in the homophobic past.
Last year, Mio Sugita, a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and considered close to prime minister Shinzo Abe, called LGBT people “unproductive” because they do not have children (apparently oblivious to Abe’s own childlessness).
Sugita questioned the use of taxes to support gay couples.

The backlash was swift, forcing the LDP to reprimand her.
Shincho 45, the magazine that published the article later apologized and ceased publication.

That suggests the popular tide has turned and that the 13 couples may win their legal fight.
“We’re not demanding anything special,” one of the plaintiffs, Kenji Aiba, told journalists at the launch of the lawsuit. “We just want to have a chance to stand at the same starting line in our lives.”
Yet, courts in Japan move slowly and have a reputation for quixotic judgments. In the meantime, says Sakakibara, Japan’s LGBT community will live in hope.
“This is the right thing to do,” she says.

June 27, 2018

Nearly 50% of the LGBTQ Labor Force Remains Closeted in The US

Tuesday marks the third anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision granting marriage equality, but despite signs of progress, almost half of LGBTQ employees remain closeted at work, according to a new study released by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation.
This figure has barely changed in a decade even as many employers have attempted to create more inclusive workplaces.
“We’ve learned that simply having the right policy in place isn’t enough,” said study author Deena Fidas, director of HRC’s Workplace Equality Program. “You’ve got evidence over a decade that despite really significant progress, including marriage equality, challenges remain in terms of the everyday workplace experience for LGBTQ Americans.”
The report, A Workplace Divided: Understanding the Climate for LGBTQ Workers Nationwide, found that 46% of LGBT employees are not open about their sexuality at work for fear of being stereotyped, making people feel uncomfortable or losing connections with coworkers.
When the survey was first conducted in 2008, 51 percent of LGBTQ employees reported that they hadn’t come out to their coworkers. Fidas said she’s not surprised the number has hardly budged in the past decade.
“On one hand there’s been significant progress, but on the other we still don’t have basic federal protections in this country for the LGBTQ community,” she said.
Although many companies have invested in creating non-discrimination policies and inclusive benefit packages, 31 states still don’t have fully-inclusive nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people. Fidas said many LGBTQ folks are still grappling with an isolating double standard when it comes to socializing in the office. While your spouse or your dating life might come up in casual workplace chit chat for straight employees, when an LGBTQ employee brings up their personal life it becomes taboo, Fidas explained. But if LGBTQ employees don’t share, they can face social isolation and miss out on networking opportunities.
“Every workplace actually demands some level of sharing,” said Fidas. “LGBTQ people really consistently get chilled out of social networks in the workplace. Their contributions, their level of sharing and simply bringing their full self to the workplace in the same way their straight and cisgender colleagues do is decidedly not welcome.” The responses to the survey present a conflicting picture:
  • 80% of non-LGBTQ employees believe no one should have to hide who they are at work,
  • 59% of non-LGBTQ employees said they think it’s unprofessional to talk about sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace
  • 36% of non-LGBTQ employees said they would feel uncomfortable hearing an LGBTQ colleague talk about dating.
  • 20% of LGBTQ workers report having been told that they should dress in a more feminine or masculine manner (compared to 1 in 24 non-LGBTQ workers)
  • 53% of LGBTQ workers report hearing jokes about lesbian or gay people at least once in a while
These conditions have a negative effect not only on the employee, but on business as well. The study found 1 in 5 LGBTQ employees had considered leaving a job and engagement in the workplace can drop as much as 30 percent because of an unwelcoming environment.
Fidas said while instituting inclusive policies is fundamentally necessary, managers and leaders must also communicate consistently and clearly about LGBTQ inclusion.
Developing an appropriate vocabulary, in both formal and informal communication, and equipping teams with a protocol around unconscious bias are two good steps, Fidas said. Allies play a huge role in transforming workplace culture.
"We find this over and over again," Fidas said. "It's simply a matter of mastering the vocabulary, many LGBTQ workers do not hear specific messages aimed at them."
These dynamics don't operate in a vacuum either, Fidas pointed out. She said typically if a workplace tolerates jokes at the expense of LGBTQ folks, the same is true for people of other races or ability levels.
“A problem with the LGBTQ climate is a miner's canary for other aspects of inclusion,” she said.
While Fidas said she hopes this study will jumpstart the conversation about the work we still have to do, she also plans to do more research the way race, region and other factors affect the LGBTQ experience.
"It is so critical to understand the diversity of experiences across the LGBTQ community," she said. 

February 28, 2018

LGBT Workplace Rights Boosted by You Can't Fire" Skydiving While Gay"

 What’s riskier? Jumping out of an airplane with a stranger’s life in your hands? Or admitting to working that you’re gay?

Donald Zarda could have told you. The New York skydiving instructor lost his job in 2010 after mentioning his sexuality. Now, in an important ruling, a federal appeals court has ruled that Zarda’s firing was illegal, and that federal civil rights law bans employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation.

This is disappointing news, no doubt, to U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger of Charlotte, but encouraging to anyone who believes it’s fundamentally wrong to be able to hire, fire, promote and demote workers solely because of their sexual orientation. 

instead invented by Teads
Pittenger, a Republican, argued in 2014 that employers should be free to fire people because they are gay. He called it one of “the freedoms we enjoy” as Americans. “We don’t want to micromanage people’s lives and businesses,” Pittenger said. He added: “Government intervention is not the best solution for matters of the heart.” 

Congress had disagreed 50 years earlier, passing the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Its Title VII bars workplace discrimination based on “race, color, religion, sex or national origin.” The 2nd Circuit court in New York ruled 10-3 on Monday that Title VII also protects gay workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The court had three different rationales: First, that firing people for their sexual orientation is essentially firing them for their sex, which Title VII prohibits. Zarda wouldn’t have been fired for being attracted to men had he been a different gender.

Second, the Supreme Court has ruled that people can’t be fired for failing to live up to their gender’s stereotypes, and the 2nd Circuit said Zarda was.

Finally, courts have long held that a person can’t be fired because of the race of those they associate with, such as firing a black person who associates with white people. The same holds for gender, the court ruled, and Zarda couldn’t be fired for associating with another man.

The New York court is the second federal appeals court (the other is the 7th Circuit, in Chicago, last year) to rule this way. The 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, ruled last year that Title VII does not cover sexual orientation. That disagreement among appeals courts makes it possible the U.S. Supreme Court will settle the matter sooner than later.

We hope it does. And using the 2nd Circuit’s logic, a high court ruling could make sexual orientation a protected class not only for employment but for housing, education and other areas. Polls and the Observer’s reporting have found that despite some people’s contention otherwise, discrimination against gays is not uncommon.

A strong majority of Americans believe employers should not be able to discriminate against LGBT workers. It’s a matter of time before that’s settled law, and Monday’s ruling was another big, welcome step toward that day.

Out in NJ

A federal appeals court in New York ruled that it is illegal for employers to discriminate against their workers based on sexual orientation. The decision is a blow to the Justice Department under President Trump, which had chosen to wade into a discrimination lawsuit filed by a former New York sky diving instructor. The Justice Department had argued last year that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act did not cover sexual orientation in the workplace.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit becomes the second appeals court to rule that the Civil Rights Law, which prohibits bias in the workplace based on “race, color, religion, sex or national original” should also extend to sexual orientation. An appellate court in Atlanta ruled differently. Jeff Sessions, a Trump appointee, heads the Justice Department and has made his anti-LGBT sentiments no secret.
The Second Circuit ruled 10-3 in the case of Donald Zarda, a sky diving instructor who was fired from Altitude Express in 2010. Zarda had revealed his sexuality to a female client while preparing for a tandem jump as the woman seemed to be uncomfortable with being strapped so tightly to him. Her boyfriend took exception, complaining to the school about the comment, and he was fired. He filed suit on the grounds that Altitude Express violated Title VII and initially had two courts in New York rule against him, including a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit.

November 4, 2017

Julian Aubrey 55, LGBT Worker Against Sexual Assaults is Knifed to death At His Flat

A counsellor met by Princess Anne in recognition of his work with victims of sexual abuse has been found stabbed to death inside his west London flat.
Julian Aubrey, 55, was found suffering multiple knife wounds in his home in Earl’s Court on Monday afternoon. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Detectives today appealed for witnesses to come forward as neighbours described hearing screams in the early hours.
Mr Aubrey was a former co-chairman of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea LGBT liaison group and was pictured in 2014 meeting Princess Anne at Kensington town hall.
He described himself as a counsellor who worked with victims of sexual abuse and offered training to patients dealing with “embedded pain”.
Detectives today appealed for witnesses to come forward after Mr Aubrey was found stabbed to death
His brother-in-law Nigel Turner said: “Julian was a great guy. I can’t come to terms with what happened.
“He had his problems but he had a lot of time for other people. He did a lot of counselling work. He was a good counsellor, he had great empathy, and I’m sure he helped a lot of people. He loved art, he loved people. It’s all a bit raw.”
Residents of the block, above a Tesco store on the corner of Warwick Road and West Cromwell Road, said Mr Aubrey had been involved in several disputes with neighbours in recent months.
A neighbour said police had been called to the block to deal with disputes on many occasions adding: “He does bits and pieces to wind people up. He antagonised people, but he’s a human being. He didn’t deserve to die in the manner he did.”
Detective Chief Inspector Luke Marks, leading the murder inquiry, said: “I am appealing for anyone who was recently in the area of Shaftesbury Place and who may have heard a disturbance coming from one of the flats to contact us. I would also like to hear from anyone who may know why Julian was targeted in his own home in such a violent way.”
Scotland Yard said three men had been arrested on suspicion of murder. Two men, aged 48 and 56, were held at the scene of the murder on Monday. A third man, aged 42, was arrested at nearby Longridge Road this morning. 
Anyone with information should call 020 8358 0200 or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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