Gay Employee Sues Airline Over Discrimination And Name Calling

A lawsuit was filed in September by an Arlington, Virginia resident Stephen Farina. Employed as an auditor at the Washington D.C. based Air Transport Association of America (Airlines for America, A4A), Farina alleges knowledge of his homosexuality by the company unfairly effected his treatment and salary substantially.

Farina had been working for the company since 1992. He believed he was retaliated again after filing a complaint over salary issues earlier in May of 2012. Farina cited in his lawsuit that an unnamed supervisor made derogatory statements, calling him and another gay employee by disparagingly pejorative nicknames on several occasions.

Farina had attempted unsuccessfully to address the discrimination he endured with A4A management.

Employment discrimination takes many forms and occurs in all kinds of work settings. It entails treating people differently because of certain characteristics like race, color, sex, sexual orientation, and religion. This can result in the impairment on the equality of opportunities and overall treatment. Discrimination results in and reinforces inequalities.

When a person is discriminated against, they feel their personal aspirations are restricted, without regard for their ability and dignity. Skills and competencies cannot be developed, rewards to work are denied, and a sense of humiliation, frustration, and powerlessness take over.

When Farina began working as a staff auditor in 1992 Farina was making $28,000. Nine years later he was promoted to manager of audits and was given a pay rate of $61,000. In 2008 he was promoted again to director and given an annual salary of $68,000. According to Pink News, Farina insists he should have been making $100,000 to $160,000, akin to those employed in similar positions within the same company.

The lawsuit calls for $1 million or more in damages to compensate for lost pay, lost benefits, pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, and legal fees. This will be determined in trial.

The Superior Court judge in the case, Anthony Epstein, has refused to dismiss the case and has ordered the two parties to participate in required mediation.

The Washington Blade quoted Victoria Day, a spokesperson for the association, who responded to the lawsuit with a one sentence statement:

“A4A does not tolerate discrimination in any form and intends to vigorously dispute these allegations.”