By Diane Anderson-Minshall
Originally published on Advocate.com March 29 2014 5:54 PM ET
A lesbian chef in New York is about to be $1.6 million dollars richer, thanks to her old boss. According to Courthouse News, a New York appeals court has ruled that Mirella Salemi's former employer owes her that much for, among other things, warning his staff weekly about the eternal damnation awaiting gay people.
Salemi previously sued Gloria’s Tribeca Inc., Gloria’s Tribecamex, and principal owner Edward Globokar for violating the New York City Human Rights Law. Globokar and the parent companies owned and operated a chain of Mexican eateries in New York called Mary Ann's. In her complaint, according to LGBTQNation, Salemi said that "Globokar held weekly prayer meetings that were essentially mandatory because the restaurant staff feared they would lose their jobs if they did not attend. At these meetings, Globokar would repeatedly call homosexuality a sin, and say that 'gay people' were 'going to go to hell.'" She was also urged to dress more feminine and marry a man and have kids.
The New York County Supreme Court sided with Salemi, awarding her $1.2 million in punitive damages and $400,000 in compensatory damages, what her attorney, Derek Smith, hailed as “the largest employment verdict in 2012 in New York.”
The Appellate court affirmed the verdict last week, saying that evidence also showed that Globokar retaliated against the chef for choosing not to attend prayers for objecting to his comments.