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Walmart employee forced to wear yellow vest after telling boss he’s gay

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Sunday, June 20, 2010 13:16 EDT
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A Las Vegas man who held a temporary job at Walmart says he was stripped of all his responsibilities and made to wear a yellow vest after telling his manager that he’s gay.

Fernando Gallardo has filed a complaint with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission claiming that his boss at a Vegas-area Walmart confronted him about his sexuality, and then began treating him rudely and alienated him from co-workers after learning Gallardo was gay, reports The Advocate.

“I was completely ignored and shunned,” he wrote in a complaint to the rights commission. “I had nothing to do all day but wander around the store wearing a yellow vest no one else had to wear, much like Jews had to wear a yellow star of David in Hitler’s Germany.”

The Advocate reports that within two months of Gallardo’s forced admission, “his supervisor and two other managers stopped talking to him completely.”

Gallardo, who no longer works at the Walmart location, also claims the store management attempted to “bribe” some of the other temporary workers at the location with permanent jobs in exchange for claiming that Gallardo had offered up the information about his sexual orientation voluntarily.

A Walmart spokesman, Phil Keene, said that Gallardo’s yellow uniform may have been nothing unusual.

“It is my understanding that the former associate was a temporary hire while the store is under remodeling,” Keene told The Advocate. “Between the 50 or so temporary associates in that store, there is a rotation through the position of ‘May I Help You’ associate. The several associates in this role wear a vest so customers can identify them and ask for help in finding products that may have been temporarily moved to a new spot.”

However, Gallardo claims he was the only one made to wear the vest, and that he was only told to wear it after his sexual orientation became known to his superiors.

While Walmart has an official policy against discrimination, the world’s largest retailer has recently been embroiled in a massive lawsuit accusing it of gender bias.

A federal court recently allowed a class-action suit to go forward against the company. Lawyers for the plaintiffs say Walmart systematically paid its female employees less than their male counterparts, and put fewer women up for promotion.

It’s estimated that anywhere from 500,000 to 1.6 million women could potentially be plaintiffs in the suit. If successful, the lawsuit could force Walmart to pay billions in compensation.

 
 
 
 
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