It’s legal to fire someone for being gay or lesbian in 29 states. It’s legal to fire someone based on gender identity in 38 states. Thankfully, Fernando Sampaio is protected by both.
After requesting health coverage for his partner once he became eligible for employee benefits at his place of employment, Seaside Refrigerated Transport, Inc., Fernando Sampaio went through horrific harassment from his coworkers and supervisors alike. Shortly after making his request, he was asked not to use the work restroom because he might “contaminate it.” When Mr. Sampaio did use the bathroom, coworkers would frequently and repeatedly pound on the bathroom door.
He put up with comments such as the usual “God Hates Fags” and his status as a black gay immigrant was threatened with “the definition of nobody is being FNF (fag, nigger, and foreigner).” After putting a “No on 8” sign in response to the “Yes on 8” signs all over the cars in the work parking lot, the company President said (in Sampaio’s presence) “I will not permit gays to work here because they contaminate us with their lifestyle” and warned that “I have a way of getting that out of my parking lot.” Mr. Sampaio returned to his truck the next day to find that it had been scratched with a key.
We need to pass the Federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act NOW! but until we do, it’s good to have brave men and women standing up to tell their stories. We look forward to the results of this lawsuit.