Sam Hall, an gay ex-miner who faced severe homophobic harassment at work, has already sued his former employer for the discrimination, but is taking it one step further protect other West Virginian's from the same kind of discrimination.
Today he's set to appear at a Capitol news conference with the group Fairness West Virginia to endorse two bills that would add sexual orientation to the state's existing civil-rights laws, which already cover race, gender, religion and other characteristics.
Hall began working at Mammoth Coal, a Massey Energy subsidiary, in West Virginia in 2005 and even though he never came out to his co-workers or flaunted his sexuality, the ignorant taunts, harassment, and vandalism came anyway.
"I tried to play manly man," he says. "It didn't work."
His lawsuit alleges that even authoritative figures like managers or supervisors did not stop miners from harassing him and sometimes even took part!
That is despicable and needs to change!
It is truly awful that this man had to endure this kind of hate on a daily basis just to make a living, but we are so happy he's standing up for not only himself, but anyone else whose even been bullied because of their sexual orientation.
Despite the harrassment, Hall says:
"We're told underground all the time: You look after the next guy. Well, even though these guys were doing this, I still looked after them. You're supposed to be your brother's keeper underground."
That's how it should be, but sadly, in states like West Virginia that is not always the case.
This needs to stop and it starts with U!
Companies, managers, supervisors, and co-workers need to speak up to stop this kind of harassment in the workplace.
We hope Sam Hall (pictured above on the right next to his partner) gets the compensation he deserves from the company that supported this kind of behavior, but more importantly, we hope the state of West Virginia adds sexual orientation to its civil-rights laws!
Do U support Sam Hall's push to end sexual discrimination in the work place?