Airline Association sued by gay employee for discrimination

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By Peter Mann

Arlington, Virginia resident Stephen Farina filed a lawsuit against the D.C. based Air Transport Association of America (A4A) last September.  According to The Inquisitor, Farina alleged that the company’s knowledge of his homosexuality caused discrimination against him due to unfair treatment and wages. 

Employed with the company since 1992, Farina charged the airline association with paying him a significantly lower salary than other individuals that hold similar job titles due to his sexual orientation. According to an article in The Washington Blade, a supervisor for the company, not named in the lawsuit, made discrediting remarks against Farina and another gay employee. 

The lawsuit states, “During plaintiff’s employment, plaintiff’s supervisor made derogatory comments about plaintiff’s sexual orientation when he stated on several occasions that he opposed gay rights and gay marriage [and]referred to plaintiff as a ‘fag’ and a ‘bonafide bone sucker’ to plaintiff’s subordinate.”

According to the Inquisitor article, Farina started his employment with A4A at a salary of $28,000.  During the duration of his employment he was promoted on a number of occasions. Promoted nine years later as manager of audits, Farina made a salary of $61,000. In 2008, he was promoted yet again as director, making a salary of $68,000. 

In comparison to others that hold the same title with A4A, Farina revealed to the Washington Blade that those individuals make anywhere between $100,000 to $160,000. 

 Farina had previously filed a Human Rights Office complaint, but under the advice of his legal counsel, has dropped said complaint. The lawsuit calls for $1 million or more in damages to be determined in court.

Victoria Day, a spokesperson for A4A, has responded to the lawsuit, saying, “A4A does not tolerate discrimination in any form and intends to vigorously dispute these allegations.”

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