Last month the 9th Circuit Court ruled that Shane Dawson, a gay former employee at Entek International, can sue the company for retaliatory discharge and hostile work environment.
Dawson claims that a number of coworkers, including his trainer, Troy Guzon, made derogatory comments about Dawson’s sexual orientation. One coworker, Josh Dobbs, allegedly called Dawson a “worthless queer” in the presence of Guzon. Another coworker, Jeremy Siebert, allegedly referred to Dawson as “Tinker Bell,” “a homo, a fag, and a queer” on numerous occasions and “acted in a physically intimidating manner.”
Dawson claims that Guzon referred to Dawson as a “homo” several time. One of Dawson’s supervisors, Ken Haase, testified to overhearing other employees using the term “homo” over the years, but he did did not take it seriously.
Dawson complained to Entek’s HR representative, Susan Morch, and asked to file a complaint. He was fired two days later.
In the 9th Circuit ruling, Judge David Bury wrote, “This was a complaint to human resources staff based directly on sexual orientation discrimination. Less than 48 hours later, he was terminated from employment.”
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