bakery dessert gallery fired workers

Bakery sued over harassment and firing of gay and trans staff

A US bakery is facing legal action after three gay and trans staff were fired in a month following alleged harassment and discrimination.

The Dessert Gallery in Houston, Texas, has been accused of anti-LGBTIQ bias.

Two gay former employees of the bakery are suing after one, a manager, hired a trans woman and promoted a lesbian.

All three workers were fired, according to OutSmart.

Gilbert Johnson and Katherine Phillips have claimed they were wrongfully dismissed just a day apart after enduring harassment in the workplace based on their sexual orientation.

Johnson said that his supervisor subjected him to sexualised comments at work, also removing his ability to hire staff when it became known he had employed a trans woman.

Phillips was reportedly fired just weeks after being promoted to shift lead and has alleged she was also sexually harassed.

Their unnamed trans colleague who was fired in the same month has not so far taken legal action.

Johnson said that he was bombarded by his supervisor with personal questions about the new employee, such as how she would use the bathroom.

Representatives of the bakery denied discrimination.

“Dessert Gallery has always been committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the workforce and our community,” they said in a statement. 

“We have a long history of celebrating Pride and partnering with, as well as supporting, Houston’s LGBTIQA+ community. 

“We take seriously any allegations like those outlined in these complaints but stand firm that these allegations are simply not true. 

“We believe the proper place to disclose the facts of this case is in the courtroom and look forward to that opportunity.”

Lawyer and activist Fran Watson, who is representing the pair, said that they wanted to “bring to light is that there was unlawful bias with both of these cases”. 

“Even the best companies make mistakes, and the bias has to be minimised because you’re impacting and interacting with a diverse workforce,” said Watson. 

“Seeing that three LGBTQ people were fired in a month ­– and two within a day of each other – shows that inherent bias was present. 

“We want the law to remedy that mistake.”

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