Gay NY Chef Awarded $1.6M After Restaurant Owner Forced Staff to Attend Anti-gay Prayer Meetings

The owner of a chain of Mexican restaurants in New York has been ordered to pay a lesbian chef $1.6 million in damages after repeatedly saying “gay people” were “going to go to hell” during mandatory staff prayer meetings.  The Raw Story reports:

PaxiaMexicanResturantFoodAccording to [Mirella] Salemi, who sued under the New York City Human Rights Law, [Edward ] Globokar compelled his staff to attend weekly prayer meetings that were essentially mandatory because with the restaurant staff believing  they would lose their jobs if they failed to attend.

At the meetings, Globokar would repeatedly call homosexuality a sin, and tell his staff that “gay people” were “going to go to hell.”

According to Salemi’s lawyer Derek Smith, Globokar also instructed Salemi to dress more “effeminately,” and that she should marry a man and have children.

In affirming the earlier verdict, A three-judge panel of the Appellate Division’s Manhattan-based First Department wrote: “Additional evidence demonstrated that as a result of Globokar’s improper conduct, plaintiff was retaliated against for objecting to his offensive comments, choosing not to attend workplace prayer meetings and refusing to fire another employee because of his sexual orientation.”

The appeals court rejected Globokar’s argument that he was merely exercising his First Amendment right to freedom of religion. 

“The trial court properly protected Globokar’s First Amendment rights by instructing the jury that he had ‘a right to express his religious beliefs and practice religion, providing that he does not discriminate against his employees based on religion or sexual orientation,” the justices wrote.


  1. Gregory In Seattle says

    Bigots need to learn — and quite firmly — that wrapping hate and bigotry in holy writ does not make it anything other than hate and bigotry.

  2. Homo Genius says

    Ive had to live thru that… “mandatory” prayer meetings. They weren’t “mandatory” but they held them every Wendesday in the main conference room which was visible from anywhere in the office. It was very easy to see who was and was not there. No one was forced to attend but there was a sense of intimidation.

    Of course again the irony is that this incident happened in NY which is supposed to be very liberal and progressive. You don’t really have to go to Red States to find ignorant bible thumpers

  3. Steven Jaeger says

    How is this case any different than the hobby lobby or the photogs, bakeries, etc? Hopefully Scalia will not get a majority to allow such behaviour; but we need to be prepared for such a horrid possible outcome. We may have gotten the marriage issue just about done but in other ways the buy-bull thumpers are trying to undermine us by claiming as ‘corporate entities’ or ‘private companies’ they can justify discrimination based upon their buy-bull. Well I’m not buying their bull.

  4. MiddleoftheRoader says

    Steven is correct that the Hobby Lobby case will have a huge effect here. If businesses can “exercise” their alleged religious rights, then why would it be illegal for an owner of a company to tell unwed women employees who have children, all gay employees, etc. that they are going to hell? If that’s allowed after Hobby Lobby, then laws against sexual/sexual orientation harassment and discrimination will be meaningless.

    For readers who don’t think about how important the Supreme Court will be in upholding our rights, or readers who think that there’s no difference between Obama (or Hillary) vs. a Republican President (since Presidents appoint Supreme Court Justices), this is a good example of how vulnerable we are to whomever is on the Supreme Court.

  5. Enchantra says

    I don’t understand why anyone would agree to go to a company prayer meeting. Read him the riot act and tell him how much retribution is likely to cost him.

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