Supreme Court turns down MGM appeal

BY Advocate.com Editors

March 26 2003 12:00 AM ET

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned down an appeal involving a gay butler allowed to sue after he was allegedly harassed on the job at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. Medina Rene worked with an all-male staff on the hotel's VIP floor, where he claimed that coworkers grabbed his crotch, mocked the way he walked, whistled and blew kisses at him, and called him "Sweetheart." They told crude jokes, gave him sexually explicit gag gifts, and forced him to look at graphic photographs, Rene added.

Rene claimed he was targeted because he is openly gay. The MGM Grand Hotel contended that it fired Rene because he was an aspiring lyricist who continually pestered influential Hollywood guests with his songwriting ideas.

Although two lower courts had rejected Rene's complaint--saying the same-sex sexual harassment he alleged is not a violation of federal Title VII guidelines--an 11-judge panel ruled last year that Rene could sue under Title VII, which prohibits discrimination motivated by race, national origin, religion, and sex.

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