Gay worker bullied and harassed at Las Vegas Walmart: What’s next, “always low prices” on pink triangles?

I must admit, at first I thought it was a parody that didn’t quite work: A news bulletin about a Walmart temp worker who was ridiculed and shunned by his supervisors for being gay.

But it’s terribly real.  Here’s part of the original piece from the Advocate, as reported by Michelle Garcia:

Back in March, 18-year-old Fernando Gallardo got a seasonal job at a Las Vegas Walmart, hoping to make a few extra dollars. But a few weeks into the job, Gallardo says, his immediate supervisor asked him “point-blank” in front of four of his coworkers if he was gay, and from then on alienated him from the 50 other associates at that location.

“I told her yes, and after that she was very rude and short with me,” he tells The Advocate.

Gallardo says that soon after the incident, he was stripped of many of his daily duties and asked to wear a yellow vest and walk around the store. By mid May his supervisor and two other managers stopped talking to him completely.

Public ridicule, tagging, the silent treatment, deliberate isolation, and removal of meaningful job duties are all classic bullying behaviors.

Bullying legislation and ENDA

Legally speaking, this raises two issues:

First, the need for enacting protections against workplace bullying, which would cover all such behaviors, regardless of motivation.

Second, the need for enacting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would amend the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sexual orientation among the classes protected from discrimination in employment.

Simple humanity

Beyond what we can do legally and legislatively, this just comes down to a denial of basic human dignity.  One does not even have to believe in legal reform to understand the need to treat people with minimal decency.  This is scary behavior, yes, reminiscent of another time and place.


Hat tip to Americans for Democratic Action (mentioned here on this blog), whose Facebook posting alerted me to this story.  At our ADA Convention over the weekend, the organization endorsed enactment of workplace bullying legislation and ENDA.

2 responses

  1. First of all, let’s be blunt, Wal-Mart hires the bottom of the barrel of the job pool, with ignorant, under-education, often criminal element.

    To be blatantly discriminated against is part and parcel of that population. The employee should have immediately filed a report withe the local ACLU, as well as the corporate offices in Bentonville Arkansas.

    As a gender minority myself, having heard of such despicable behavior, will not patronize Wal-Mart again.
    Apart from there food products, most everything else, are cheaply made imports, mostly from China, which has contributive to the demise of American jobs, and manufacturing.

    • Wal-Mart may have its problems as an employer, but I don’t think that’s fair reason to denigrate the people who work for them. Sure, Wal-Mart’s pay structure may not always attract the strongest entry-level employees, but there are plenty of honest, hardworking, high quality people who work at Wal-Mart. This includes folks who may have had more job choices when the economy was better, as well as others with fewer job skills who nevertheless have proven to be quality employees when given a chance….hardly the “ignorant, under-education, often criminal element” to which you refer.

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