A New York jury awarded Mirella Salemi $1.6 million in damages at the conclusion of the sexual orientation discrimination lawsuit that she filed against her former employer, Mary Ann’s Mexican Restaurant.
Salemi claimed that Edward Globakar, the owner of the New York restaurant, subjected her to discrimination based on her Catholic religion and sexual orientation as a lesbian, and that she suffered harassment, constructive discharge, and retaliatory actions.
According to Salemi, every Wednesday, Globakar would lock the doors of the restaurant and force all the employees, including Salemi, to attend a prayer service from 3p.m. to 5p.m. that was conducted by members of his church. During that service, Globakar and his pastor would condemn homosexuality.
In addition, according to the verdict report, Globakar handed out religious paraphernalia at work and used slurs against homosexuals on a regular basis. He allegedly told Salemi to become more “effeminate” in her behavior and clothing, get married to a man and have children, or else she would go to hell.
Salemi told the jury that she repeatedly asked Globakar to stop disparaging her sexual orientation and forcing her to attend services for a religion that she didn’t practice, but he refused, threatening her employment if she didn’t attend church or change her sexuality.
Attorney Derek T. Smith represented Salemi in her lawsuit against Mary Ann’s Mexican Restaurant.