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.
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.