French financial firm Calyon in the Americas is being sued by Ryan Pacifico who alleges that he was fired because his boss, Robert Catalanello, thought that he seemed gay because he would not eat steak and wore snug-fitting shorts during triathlons. The firm denies the allegation and says that he was fired for performance reasons.
Pacifico said that his boss mocked his tight fitting shorts by his boss and then made up rationalizations to justify his firing. Pacifico is married and served steak at his wedding last year, even though he has been a vegetarian for 15 years.
Yet, in his complaint, Pacifico alleges that, when another trader asked what Pacifico would eat at an outing to a steakhouse, Catalenello said “It’s his fault for being a vegetarian homo. He also alleges that Catalanello poked fun at him at a steakhouse and said, “You don’t even eat steak, dude. At what point in time did you realize you were gay?”
These are tough cases. These comments can also be viewed as the type of macho teasing that is common in some fields. If there is an objective basis for the termination, the firm could well prevail by showing similar teasing directed at others in the office.
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