North Side man claims boss harassed him for being gay
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A North Side man says he was forced to quit his job at a Neville Island company because his boss kept taunting him for being gay.
Thomas Hutter, 29, said Gabriel Tamilia, his supervisor at All American Grating, repeatedly harassed him because of his sexual orientation from 2006 to 2010, forcing him to take medical leave and ultimately not return to his job designing the company's website and developing marketing strategy.
Mr. Hutter and his lawyer, Stephen Pincus, filed an affidavit Thursday with the Allegheny County Human Relations Commission, which was created last year to promote better workplace relations and investigate complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Mr. Hutter's complaint is the third received since the commission was created last summer.
The commission will investigate Mr. Hutter's claim and may hold a hearing. After administrative remedies are exhausted, Mr. Hutter would be able to file suit in Common Pleas Court and seek damages.
Mr. Hutter was a freelance contractor at All American until he was hired full time in 2006, working under Mr. Tamilia, the general manager, whom he said became "increasingly disrespectful and hostile toward me" because of Mr. Hutter's homosexuality.
At least 10 times, he said, Mr. Tamilia passed by Mr. Hutter's desk on his way out to take a cigarette break and loudly said, "I'm going out to smoke a fag," emphasizing the word "fag," which is also slang for cigarette.
In making fun of an employee who asked for special consideration because of hemorrhoid surgery, Mr. Hutter said, Mr. Tamilia made crude references to anal sex in regard to Mr. Hutter and his partner.
When Mr. Tamilia later asked Mr. Hutter if he was hard to work with, he said he told his boss that he suffered from anxiety because of how he was being treated.
"I told him that some nights I went home from work in a state of 'shell shock,' " he wrote.
But he said the harassment continued.
Mr. Hutter said Mr. Tamilia "went on angry and violent rants in the office, loudly cursing and using derogatory epithets, often directed toward me."
In addition, he said he saw Mr. Tamilia with a gun at work in July 2009, after which he said Mr. Tamilia told him not to touch the weapon because it had to be "ready to go" if he needed it.
After his requests to Mr. Tamilia to stop his behavior were ignored, Mr. Hutter said, he started using his paid time off for medical leave in February to deal with "emotional distress." When the time off was set to expire, he said, he elected not to return to work.
A man who answered the phone Thursday at All American Grating, a family-owned construction company, declined to comment on the complaint.
First Published April 30, 2010 12:00 am