Harassed and Fired for Being Gay

28 Sep

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.

5 Responses to “Harassed and Fired for Being Gay”

  1. blackwatertown September 28, 2010 at 9:34 pm #

    Just discovered your blog. Lots of uplifting stories amongst the harrowing tales of abuse and discrimination. Well done conveying this sense of joy, progress and achievement instead of a demotivating feeling of bleakness. I think your approach is much more effective and empowering.
    Thanks for this story and the other recent posts too.
    Good work. Keep it up.
    You have a new follower.

    • philchriste September 28, 2010 at 10:52 pm #

      Just one (serious)question: how does one prove he is gay? Is it enough to simply declare it?

      • jamiemcgonnigal September 29, 2010 at 12:25 am #

        I do believe it’s enough to declare it. Granted – asking for same-sex partner benefits for your same-sex partner may be enough of a declaration.

        If you’re asking if there will be fraudulent cases where people claim they were fired for being gay, I’m sure someone will try it at some point. But clearly in most communities, there’s enough stigma attached that they wouldn’t admit it if it weren’t true.

  2. aucunknowntruths September 29, 2010 at 2:08 am #

    Great story. I agree, there should be a Federal act to stop such practices because they are becoming way to common every time the economy goes down the hole or a scapegoat is needed.

    My blog’s last entry may be something you may wish to read h(see below), but I warn you it doesn’t have a happy ending.

    Please continue this blog and peace to you.



  1. Don’t despair. « Talk About Equality - October 1, 2010

    […] ¬† Cyber bullying from an elected official is making life very difficult for Chris Armstrong. ¬†Fernando Sampaio has been harassed and tormented by his boss and […]

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