Nestle Waters, a division of the Nestle Global Corporation is the latest employer to face a sexual harassment lawsuit in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. According to a complaint filed in the matter of Mateo v. Nestle Waters North America, Inc., a gay employee of the bottled water company alleges he was the victim of a hostile work environment, discrimination, retaliation, and the threat of physical harm at a Nestle Waters distribution facility.
The employee, states that shortly after beginning work at the distribution facility, a supervisor and co-workers engaged in harassing behavior that included making anti-gay comments in his presence, touching his nipples, threatening physical violence with a knife, inviting the employee to engage in sexual relations, and calling him offensive names in the presence of a least one supervisor. The employee reported the alleged harassment to Nestle Human Resources in the summer of 2012 but no investigation took place.
claimed that the physical altercations was instigated by the plaintiff (although it was documented that the co-worker used anti-gay language), Nestle terminated the gay employee while his co-worker retained his position. Nestle alleges that following the termination, they discovered that the employee had omitted or misrepresented pertinent information on his employment application, including that he was let go by previous employers on the basis of poor performance or conduct. The employee subsequently filed a federal lawsuit claiming violations of Title VII and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, based on sexual orientation discrimination, sexual harassment, a hostile work environment, and retaliation.
he New Jersey federal district court recently denied Nestle’s motion for summary judgment on the hostile work environment, sex discrimination, and retaliation counts, allowing the employee to go forward with these claims. With respect to the hostile work environment claims, the court held that a reasonable jury could conclude the employee suffered “severe and pervasive” harassment.
Nestle’s argues that the employee was unable to demonstrate discrimination and that his termination resulted from his physical altercation with his co-workers was also rejected by the court. The court suggested Nestle’s stated reason for firing the employee could be a pretext as other non-gay employees were not fired for similar behavior.
The lawsiut will move forward and be heard possibly later this year.
To read the opinion in Mateo v. Nestle Waters North America, Inc., click here.
A former FDNY firefighter from Queens, has filed a federal lawsuit claiming he was savagely hazed by colleagues.
The lawsuit claims Michael Troina “was singled out time and time again on account of his race and national origin as a Hispanic American male as well as perceived homosexuality . . . [and] was further threatened with physical violence if he dared to report any incident of battery, harassment or discrimination to the FDNY’s Equal Employment Opportunity Office,”
Troina said his colleagues “tried to coerce” him go to a strip club and “regularly harassed him by encouraging him to have sex with a stripper.” When he refused, he was called “faggot” and “loser,” the suit claims.
Other abuse alleged in Manhattan court papers included:
Being forced to “eat orange juice” with a fork from 12 different plates and then wash the plates.
Being told “he could not do the job like the other white firefighters” because he is Hispanic.
Being called a “closet homo.”
Being excluded from a firehouse volleyball outing, where he was later told he was denigrated with homophobic insults.
The lawsuit states that Troina told a lieutenant about the “degrading and discriminatory incident” but the supervisor told him it was “in good fun and to not take it too hard.”
“At first I sloughed it off as ‘I’m the new guy.’ As it kept going on, it got worse,” said Troina.
Michael Troina was fired on Dec. 21, 2016, just seven days before he would have completed probation. The FDNY insists he was canned after a “failed evaluation.”
The lawsuit, brought by attorney Paul Liggieri, seeks unspecified damages. It names the city, the FDNY, nine firefighters, three lieutenants, two chiefs and Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro as defendants.
Jameka Evans said that she was harassed, and effectively fired from her job at Georgia Regional Hospital, for being a lesbian. But the three-judge panel on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals which included notoriously anti-gay Judge William Pryor who was on President Donald Trump’s short list for the Supreme Court, ruled 2-1 that Title VII does not cover anti-LGBT discrimination. And while the panel allowed the complainant to amend her case to alleged discrimination based on sex stereotyping, it ultimately found that “she did not provide enough factual matter to plausibly suggest that her decision to present herself in a masculine manner led to the alleged adverse employment actions.”
Pryor surprisingly previously joined in a 2011 opinion finding that Title VII applies to transgender people. But he also wrote in support of upholding a ban on gay sex in 2003.
“But just as a woman cannot recover under Title VII when she is fired because of her heterosexuality, neither can a gay woman sue for discrimination based on her sexual orientation,” Pryor wrote. “Deviation from a particular gender stereotype may correlate disproportionately with a particular sexual orientation, and plaintiffs who allege discrimination on the basis of gender nonconformity will often also have experienced discrimination because of sexual orientation. But under Title VII, we ask only whether the individual experienced discrimination for deviating from a gender stereotype.”
Lambda Legal who argued on Evans her behalf that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in a statement that it will seek redress before the Supreme Court.
“This is not the end of the road for us and certainly not for Jameka,” said Greg Nevins, Lambda’s employment fairness project director. “Keeping your job shouldn’t depend on whether or not you pass for straight. There is no way to draw a line between sexual orientation discrimination and discrimination based on gender nonconformity because not being straight is gender-nonconforming, period.”
Michigan has joined the number of Republican controlled states that are on their way to passing a “Religious Liberty and Freedom” bills that would allow anyone who holds any sort of dangerous religious belief against anyone but their own the right to discriminate against them without any form of punishment.
Michigan’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act would allow, “Christian” EMT’s the right to refuse emergency treatment to a gay person or a pharmacist to refuse to refill HIV medication, because God decreed gays and lesbians should be put to death.
Michigan Speaker Bolger fast tracked the bill, which passed 59-50 along party lines. “I support individual liberty and I support religious freedom,” Bolger said. “I have been horrified as some have claimed that a person’s faith should only be practiced while hiding in their home or in their church.”
If it passes in the Michigan Senate and is signed by Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act will become law.
At the House committee meeting that considered the measure “Pastor” Stacy Swimp President of the Frederick Douglass Society told the committee that “No one from the LGBT community has ever had fire hoses turned on them by the police department, they have never had to drink out of an LGBT water fountain, There is no record of LGBT — homosexuals, lesbians—being forced to sit at the back of the bus in an LGBT section.
Several weeks ago I was asked to do an Op-Ed on whether an HIV negative man should date someone who is positive. Being completely honest, I was nervous. Not because the subject matter of discussing HIV/AIDS makes me nervous, but for fear that I wouldn’t fully encapsulate my point correctly or present each side of the argument accurately. So I held off for a while to ruminate and collect my thoughts. Methodically trying to map out how to present it to a community that has such a taboo about even discussing the subject, fearing an association to something that affects the entire community.
During this process I kept revisiting excerpts of different points I wanted to bring up and as time went on thought they were too convoluted or sounded insulting or just was too random to be of use in the article. I then came across a brilliant and honest depiction of what it was like for a man living with HIV to go out seeking romance or possibly love. David Duran’s story about being positive and navigating through social dating apps really touched me because I truly felt the frustration he expressed about disclosing his status to men he could have some potential sexual relationship. I related to it because I felt frustrations when I’m discounted or erroneously judged because of race in the gay community, another taboo subject rarely discussed.
As I thought about the comparisons it made me think of how taxing that has to be on the gay men that have to endure the silent ridicule and muffled disdain for something that could have happened to any of us. Now some may chagrin to that statement I just made but they would do well to remember that condoms do sometimes break. They should remember that just because someone says that their STI test came back negative doesn’t always mean that they don’t have the virus because it hasn’t shown up yet. So yes it can happen to any of one of us.
This reflective journey made me remember an incident about understanding what HIV is after I came out. I came across a journal entry dated a little over six years ago where I attempt to process whether or not I would date a man living with the virus. I’m going to share a part of this entry to show some of the mistakes I made as a younger gay man and how this experience may resemble the reactions that David and other men have faced. I hope that even though it shows a bit of my own ignorance back then that it may also open eyes to the misconceptions and negative attitudes surrounding it. Because as I always state in these articles, nothing ever changes if we don’t talk about where we went wrong and how we can overcome these flaws.
Saturday January 27th 2007
Tonight I feel like I messed up big time. My first real venture into socializing with gay men, something I dreamed about was a wash. I was finally able to openly flirting with a guy..but in the end it just came out awkward. I was grateful that William had invited me out cause even though it’s been over a year since I came out I don’t know anyone other than the man I’d loved and lost as a circumstance of bad timing and a couple of random guys I fooled around with. This was supposed to be a big step but it..just didn’t turn out right.
I got along with everyone and flirted with the guys and that was received well. Later on this guy walked in. Black hair and the most brilliant luminescent emerald green eyes I can remember. Checkered shoes with a matching scarf and pinstripe suspenders. A hipster from head to toe. I was so taken by him. A few drinks and I felt comfortable enough to say more than hey. We talked about school and politics. He was as so sharp and articulate as I always think I am.. Sweet smile and his butt. Amazing. After we went out back to talk more we leaned in to kiss but he stopped before we made contact. Saying he had to tell me about his status and I was so in the moment it wasn’t clicking to what he was referring to. He said he was positive.
A few seconds of confusion until I realized he was talking about HIV. I was just so caught up in the moment..but I wasn’t able to hide how hard the statement had brought me back down from fantasizing about us throwing each other against the house and me having my way with him. The starry gaze in my eyes was replaced with shock. I could tell he’s seen this expression before and it makes the whole thing worse. And I noticed that he noticed my initial reaction that was in my face that easily to him said “no” when I didn’t know what I would do. But I know he’s seen that face before and a resolve that nothing would come of our earlier flirtation. Shaking and so upset, probably heightened by the alcohol, my reaction condemned this man and I felt so ashamed, that I may have hurt his feelings. I began to cry.
Spontaneously crying, like I always do when I feel I’ve deeply offended someone unintentionally. He was trying to say something like “it’s okay, I understand” but all I could do was profusely yell how sorry I was if I made him feel bad or that he wasn’t desirable. Because I felt like at that point I couldn’t just save face and say of course it’s not an issue but my reaction said differently. Even worse that I know what that feels like on some level to be rejected on something you can’t change, though not to the degree that he had to have felt. Too often I’ve had resolve to rejection as sometimes as an African American you have to brace yourself as some people do react to you this way.
And here I am most likely making this guy feel that way. Both of us embarrassed at the moment I was having I flagged a sober friend to drive me home…Could it have been the era I grew up in? Definitely. I grew up in the 80s and 90s in the south, the time of the Cold War and the Reagan era that seemed to completely and utterly fail to diminish the impact of the virus. AIDS was on the news almost every night. And people were terrified I was terrified. These all sound like more excuses about whatever I’m subconsciously afraid to say.
Growing up I remember so often when the subject of gay came up it was automatically synonymous with AIDS and then death. Back then it due to the reprehensible negligence by the government so it really was a death sentence. I wonder if that image was ingrained as I was processing the fact that I was gay; maybe that had some weight in how I reacted. I just remember being so afraid growing up thinking if I’m gay then I’m automatically destined to inherit this disease? Of course I know better than that now. I know antivirals helps a person live normally. But back then that was all I knew. Maybe it’s all an excuse.
Why did I react that way? Why am I trying to justify being so wrong. This isn’t like me. It’s not like I have anything to worry about. I get tested for STD’s at least once every six months. And if we were intimate together I would take the same precautions that I always do. So why did I respond that way. William called and said the guy wasn’t offended and understood but I still feel like a horrible human being. I wonder if it wasn’t completely subconscious, or lingering fear. Maybe that’s why I panicked because I had internalized all the lies and manipulation I had been taught growing up from the media. All I know is that I was embarrassing tonight. And probably hurt someone’s feelings. I hate this feeling and sorry for all this,
I remember during this whole ordeal I kept thinking that if I referred to it as a disease instead of a virus that it was insulting. Or what if it’s the other way around or both or neither. I was just so afraid of offending this man and those amazingly beautiful emerald eyes of his. More likely it was fear that I still had not dealt with and it all came to the surface that night. I needed to reconcile that because no matter how open minded I believed I was, for whatever reason I was seeing a status rather than a person. That was why I had that reaction. For me, I needed to change that outlook immediately and I believe that I’ve done so.
Some things are the same as they were then. I still slightly look away when I make eye contact with someone I’m extremely attracted to and smile. I still have terrible one liners that somehow makes the guy I’m talking to laugh..still don’t know if it’s out of civility or genuine affection. I’m still immensely drawn to hipster. I still use protection every time I have a sexual encounter and get tested at least once every six months to make sure that I don’t have any STD’s. But now I do not treat a man that is positive as some fragile being I need to tiptoe around. No longer through my awkward, panicked behavior do I treat these men as though their status is the only thing I see. I view these men as men, just as deserving of love and affection as anyone else. As it should be.
So maybe the worse thing I did through that experience was be afraid of offending someone else’s feelings (which is at times still a flaw). But it was necessary for me to go through and learn some of the prejudices that I may not have been aware of back then. As the years have went on I grew to see people as people, no matter their circumstance. I now know that I would consider dating an HIV positive man the same way I’d consider dating any other gay man. Would there be lengthy discussions and all precautions before during and after sex be taken? Absolutely as I take those precautions with every man I’m with sexually, as we all should be.
So how do we challenge ourselves to stop letting stigma dictate how we treat these men? How do we evolve and overcome the insensitive and sometimes downright ugly reactions that we may have when these men are looking for the same things we’re looking for? Talk. Just as we did when we first discovered that we’re gay. We sought out after answers about what our sexuality meant and what sex would someday mean to us. We learned the mechanics of protecting ourselves and those we sexually engage. We learned that we don’t want to be treated differently on the basis of one aspect of ourselves.
Sometimes it is necessary for us to revisit the lessons of the past and apply them to a different situation. The one thing all of us can do, regardless of status, is talk openly about HIV. I’m not saying that anyone has to share the exact same opinion on this because I understand why people would have reservations about it. Who knows, maybe I still do as I have not dated anyone who is positive. But at least I am ready to talk about it and learning more. Because I do believe there are valid concerns, just like any relationship you embark upon. Education is paramount, not only in prevention but in understanding what it means to those living with the virus.
All relationships have obstacles that we will all have to face. But that doesn’t mean that you have to treat these men so distastefully. As David has said, we are all kin, and status doesn’t remove our sexual nature or desire or our humanity. Basically the only thing I ask every gay man to do is challenge and examine why they have a certain view on this topic. Question where your beliefs come from, question what you fear, and ultimately do what’s right for you. And always protect yourself. Talk.
Thank you David for being my muse and inspiring me to find the right words to express how I feel. And my journals for yet again showing me how reflection is always necessary for growth.
Ellen DeGeneres continues to prove what an outstanding LGBT activist she continues to be by reaching out and supporting a member discriminated against because of their sexuality. This past Thursday, Ryan Andresen, a member of the Boy Scouts Of America received a 20000 scholarship from the daytime talkshow host and comedian after he was denied an Eagle Scout Badge after he announced that he is gay.
Andresen had completed all of the necessary requirements for the badge but the organization said that his sexuality prevented him receiving the badge. Andresen’s mother, Karen, has begun a petition asking the scouts to change their anti-gay policies and has already received nearly half a million signatures. Andresen goes on to discuss how discrimination is wrong:
“I hope people understand that discrimination is not OK. The Boy Scouts is an organization that is very unique, it has a lot of opportunities that nothing else will ever grant you in your whole entire life. I am so blessed that I got to go through it and I don’t think it is fair that not everyone gets the opportunity to go through it”
Hopefully one fay the Scouts will realize that their anti-gay policies are more detrimental than they realize. Also, stay classy Ellen.
19 year old Eric Jones, an Eagle Scout and camp counselor for the Boy Scouts in Missouri, came out to the camp director over the weekend was fired and told to pack his bags and leave.
“He said I was deserving to be there, but he had to follow the policy of BSA,” Jones said.
Jones said that while he knew of the Boy Scouts policy, he thought that the director “would overlook it” because he had been working at the camp for nearly five years.
“This is definitely good for me. (coming out) I’m generally happy,” Jones said, describing how he feels a day later. “But most importantly, I feel discriminated,” he added.
While the BSA recently announced it would review its policy on gays after a petition campaign from GLAAD inspired by the ousting of Ohio den mother Jennifer Tyrrell, one that Eagle Scout Zach Wahls has also been heavily involved in.
According to the Daily News in a statement given to them by a BSA spokesman: “Contrary to media reports, the Boy Scouts of America has no plans to change its membership policy. We do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.”
“The decision was made solely on an interpretation of an admittedly ambiguous section of the Department Operation Manual as it relates to unauthorized use of the CDCR uniform. Upon review, CDCR acknowledges that the DOM is outdated and requires careful revision. CDCR apologizes to Officer Johnson and any Californian who may have been offended by the original decision.”
The Reverend Jesse Jackson has a long record of support for LGBT rights, including when he ran for President of the United States and his speech at the LGBT March on Washington in 1987.
So it comes as quite a surprise that this week a wrongful termination and discrimination complaint against the civil rights leader with the City of Chicago’s Commission on Human Rights by Tommy R. Bennett who worked at Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition from July 11, 2007 to Dec. 23,2009 as the national director of community affairs. Bennet includes shocking allegations about Jackson’s behavior toward the openly gay staffer including an allegation that the civil rights leader propositioned him.
Bennet claims that Jackson fired him because he was gay and he wouldn’t do humiliating tasks like allegedly being summoned to Jackson’s home or hotel room after hours , packing his clothes, buying his underwear, deodorant, and believe it or not his Viagra and Cialis, oh and and cleaning his room.
Bennett claims he had to escort women to Jackson’s room and clean up after the sexual rendezvous. If you are grossed out by that, the allegations get worse. Bennett claims Jackson summoned him to his hotel room one night at 1a.m. to take notes. In the complaint, “When Mr. Bennett arrived, Rev. Jackson was dressed only in his briefs and a v-neck t-shirt.” Bennett alleges Jackson was sexually excited. The magazine asked him how did he know Jackson was allegedly aroused? Bennett claims he can tell by his look and how he was breathing.
Bennett wants $98,300 for back pay, front pay and loss of benefits; $350,000 for emotional distress and punitive damages; and an amendment of Rainbow PUSH’s non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals gas GRANTED the government its request for a stay in the injunction barring enforcement of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ pending appeal. Todays ruling not only helps bring back from the dead DADT which was found unconstitutional also puts more pressure on the Obama administration who just “had to appeal” it to persuade the U.S. Senate to repeal the 1993 law before a new Congress is sworn in.Good fucking luck with that Barack you idoit.
Todays decision by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals means gay Americans who disclose their sexual orientations still can’t enlist in the armed forces and can be discharged.
It’s gay and lesbian discrimination as usual in the USA!