Rolling Back the Discrimination
BY Michelle Garcia
June 15 2010 6:00 PM ET
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.
"I was completely ignored and shunned," he wrote in a complaint to the Nevada Equal 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."
Gallardo says he went to a human resources manager and filed a report, but to no avail. He also accuses the store's management of attempting to bribe some of his temporary coworkers with permanent positions, in exchange for saying he volunteered the information about his sexual orientation. However, Gallardo says he felt pressured into telling his boss that he is gay, by the pointed way in which she asked.
"It shouldn't even matter what my personal life is, but what was I supposed to say, other than the truth?" he says. "I didn't want to lie. This is who I am."