DES MOINES, Iowa — An Iowa man is suing a convenience store chain he claims fired him because he’s gay, and alleges in court documents that he was chastised by his former boss for “feminine behavior.”
Wayne Shimer, 22, a resident of West Des Moines, said he was fired from Casey’s General Stores after he claimed he asked for permission to have his husband be able to visit him at the convenience store where he worked, reported The Des Moines Register.
According to the lawsuit filed earlier this month in Polk County District Court, Shimer alleged that other store employees were routinely allowed visitations by spouses or their partners, while he was denied that privilege solely because he was in a same-sex relationship.
In a statement to the Register, Shimer said the treatment he faced working at the convenience store left him wanting “fair and equal treatment in the workplace for all Iowans.”
Shimer’s lawsuit alleges a pattern of bigoted comments and discrimination against him by his supervisor, said his attorney, Andrew LeGrant.
“In this day and age, discrimination in the workplace is simply unacceptable,” Shimer said in a written statement. “I would like to see employers take more pride in their employees and work to prevent and stop discrimination in the workplace altogether.”
After he was fired, Shimer filed a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, the state agency that first hears allegations of discrimination under the Iowa Civil Rights Act.
Article continues belowThe commission issued a right-to-sue letter Feb. 7, allowing him to take the case to court.
Christopher Clark, a senior staff attorney with LGBT rights advocacy group Lambda Legal, noted Friday that if Iowa hadn’t added sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination laws in 2007, it would be difficult for Shimer’s lawsuit to proceed through the courts, he said.
“It is my hope that this civil action will open the eyes of employers and the community and serve as a reminder that sexual orientation and who we love should not disqualify anyone from employment,” said Shimer.
Casey’s General Stores, Inc. is a chain of convenience stores in the Midwestern United States.