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California man's wrongful termination claim against America's Cup

It has been more than 160 years since the first America's Cup was awarded. Yachting's greatest prize was held for more than 100 years by teams from the U.S. and is fought over to this day.

Another fight has emerged involving the Cup, however, this one being waged on land rather than on the waves. A gay former employee of America's Cup has filed a wrongful termination claim against operators of the race. The California man says he faced sexual orientation discrimination, and that his employer failed to pay him overtime and wages owed at the time of his firing, among other claims.

The former VIP spectator boat captain filed his complaint in San Francisco Superior Court last month, alleging that officials with the race mocked him. One apparently “made a limp wrist gesture at him,” while another reportedly referred to him as a “poof.”

The former captain seeks damages exceeding $25,000 in a claim filed against America’s Cup Race Management, America’s Cup Event Authority and ACRM Operations US, none of which had replied to the allegations by the time of the publication of the news article on the lawsuit.

In the documents filed with the court, he notes that he was hired in June of last year as a spectator boat captain for the races along the San Francisco waterfront.

The openly gay man adds that his though co-workers and supervisors knew of his sexuality, inappropriate comments and gestures began to sour his working relationship with Cup officials, ending in a summary termination “without legal cause or justification.”

Those who have been discriminated against in the workplace or wrongfully terminated often feel as if they have been cut off from their careers and incomes. A conversation with an employment law attorney can help clarify their legal options.   

Source: Bay Area Reporter, "Gay man sues America's Cup," Seth Hemmelgarn, April 3, 2014

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