Ex-employee who accused San Antonio credit union of anti-gay discrimination speaks out

Posted on 06 Apr 2012 at 2:43pm

A former employee who’s alleging San Antonio Federal Credit Union prevented him from using the unisex employee restrooms says his manager was behind the discrimination.

Keith Crabtree started the petition on Change.org on Tuesday titled “Stop the discriminatory treatment of gay employees at San Antonio Federal Credit Union.” The petition outlines that gay employees cannot talk about their families or use the restrooms.

Although Crabtree didn’t respond to an interview request from Instant Tea, he told QSanAntonio that he was an employee since October 2011 and the discrimination began around the new year when he, the only male employee at the branch, was asked to use the restrooms in the lobby.

He filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is investigating it as sex discrimination, because he was the only male working at the location. His manager then allegedly began writing him up for things that never happened and told him to not speak about anything gay at work. When he complained to Human Resources in early March, he was later terminated, he alleges.

SACU spokeswoman Paige Ramsey-Palmer previously told Instant Tea that no complaints had been filed in regards to the restroom.

Crabtree has been with his partner for more than a decade and felt comfortable talking about his life with co-workers. His partner, Star Natal, commented on Instant Tea’s first story about the petition.

Natal wrote: “As Keith’s spouse of eleven years, I have witnessed first-hand my husbands strong work ethic. He stepped down from an executive position in the senior living field (where he fostered many future stars of the local industry) so that he could be in an environment with less pressure and work stress. His time at SACU proved anything but easy. He was targetted [SIC] and singled out daily. He regularly suffered retaliation for reporting inappropriate behavior by the branch manager. In my opinion, I believe that she, a 40 year old spinster, was very uneasy and disdainful around Keith because she couldn’t stand the fact that a happily partnered, highly skilled and polished professional would voluntarily go to work somewhere where she struggled for 15 years to move one or two steps up the corporate ladder. This woman was even witnessed publicly stating that she would keep any males from being hired as tellers at her branch because ‘men are drama’. Please sign our petition and contact SACU to tell them that anti-male, anti-gay policies will not be tolerated in todays society.”

Read part of Crabtree’s interview with QSanAntonio after the jump:

“Perhaps the most offensive incident took place on January 13 of this year,” he recalls. “My manager told me that I could not speak of anything gay in any form or fashion. She said she should not have to hear it.”

Crabtree says that his co-workers knew he was gay. “Having been professionally closeted for the first 32 years of my life, I have — for the last 15 years — answered honestly when approached. So, through routine, everyday conversations my co-workers learned that I was gay and have been with my partner for 11 years.”

On March 7, Crabtree says he went to SACU’s Human Resources Department with written documentation and requested the following:

“1. an immediate end to the discriminatory practices outlined therein; including the ability to speak of my family, as other employees are allowed and the right to use the same restroom as other employees.

2. an explanation for each of the outright lies contained in the bogus write-ups and removal of them from my file.

3. a response to my vacation request submitted several weeks prior.

4. an explanation as to why my resolved teller outage had not been cleared.

5. transfer to a branch location where a hostile, discriminatory work environment against men and gay persons was not the norm.”

On March 22, when he called HR to see if they would conduct an investigation, Crabtree says “I was told I was no longer needed and that I could punch out and go home. I did so. A few days later, I received a letter stating some bogus reasons why I was terminated.”

Crabtree has filed a complaint against SACU with the The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which said that it would conduct an investigation. “They are approaching it as sex discrimination, as I was the only male employee at the branch. Additionally they have charged retaliation because I was terminated for reporting EEOC protected activity,” he says.

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