US: Lesbian New York chef wins $1.6m payout from ‘homophobic’ boss

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A lesbian chef in New York has been awarded $1.6m (£961k), after suing her boss who told her to “marry a man and have children”, and that gay people were “going to hell”.

Courthouse News reports that an appeals court upheld a verdict from 2012, meaning Mirella Salemi was awarded $400,000 in compensatory damages and $1.2 million in punitive damages from boss Edward Globokar.

She alleged that she was forced to attend mandatory staff prayer meetings at the Mary Ann’s chain of Mexican restaurants between 2004 and 2007, and that on several occasions at those meetings Globokar had said that “gay people” were “going to hell”.

It is unclear who owns Mary Ann’s today

According to Salemi’s lawyer, Globokar also ordered her to dress more “effeminately”, and to “marry a man and have children”.

Upholding the judgement, the court 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 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.”