January 9th, 2009
They say this sort of thing never happens, but here it is. David Hill says he was fired from the Artee Hotel (a former Holiday Inn) in Brentwood, Tennessee, simply for being gay. Not only that, but the owner who fired him dared him to sue:
“They literally said to me because of my orientation and my alternative lifestyle, that I was not a fit for the hotel,” said Hill.
Hill said he used to be the human resources director and is shocked at the owner’s decision to dismiss him because of his sexual preference. “The owner (Tarun Surti) said, ‘I don’t give a damn. They can sue me. I will not have any of the gays in leadership roles in my hotel.’ And that’s a quote,” said Hill.
Assistant general manager, Leonard Stoddard, confirmed Hill’s allegation. He should know, because he said he was the one who had to fire Hill. He spoke with Nashville’s Channel 4 News:
“The owner, Mr. Surti, comes from a culture that is not very tolerant to the gay lifestyle, and therefore he felt it necessary to have him removed from the workforce at the property,” said Stoddard.
“(He was fired) strictly because of his sexual orientation?” asked reporter Katina Rankin.
“I do believe that’s a very fair assumption,” asked [sic] Stoddard.
“Did you agree with his decision?” asked Rankin.
“I did not,” said Stoddard. “It is in our employee handbook that no one should be discriminated against, harassed verbally, physically or any other means for their sexuality, their sexual orientation, gender, race or anything of that sort.”
Meanwhile, it appears the firings didn’t start with Hill, and may not end with him:
Stoddard said Hill’s termination came after Surti received a letter which listed the names of several gay staff members including Hill and Stoddard. That letter was written by a former employee who had been fired for, among other reasons, being gay, Stoddard said.
…Stoddard said Surti fired Hill and told Stoddard he would soon need to find a new employer, as well. Stoddard has worked at the hotel for 10 months. He has not been officially terminated yet, but expects to be soon.
Which may explain why Stoddard spoke so freely with Channel 4.
Surti wouldn’t comment to Channel 4, but according to Out & About, Surti blamed the firings on staff cutbacks.
Hill plans to file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor, bt it’s not clear how far that will go. While U.S. law does protect against employment discrimination on the basis of religion, race, and ethnicity, and disability, it doesn’t cover sexual orientation.
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Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
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And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
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