A banker in São Paulo, Brazil was fired from his job for being gay after he posted his engagement photos on his social media account.
Fired for an Engagement Photo
According to the Sindicato dos Bancários e Financiários de São Paulo, Osasco e Região, a labor organization for workers in the financial sector, the banker was an exemplary employee who consistently exceeded his company’s standards. In the year and a half he’d spent working Itaú Unibanco ITM as a manager, the banker won 10 awards for meeting goals.
But after he posted an engagement photo of himself sharing a kiss with his fiancé on a vacation, he lost his job.
“They scolded me that I ‘let loose’ when I won a prize, and said that this position is not appropriate,” the banker recalls. “They also said that my clothes were not ideal for work and that my suits were not up to standards.”
The banker has filed a complaint with the Sindicato against Itaú. Union leader Fábio Pereira says:
This is not the first time this has happened at Itaú and we recently reported layoffs of people with disabilities. It is necessary that the bank reviews its positions, and we demand that this kind of thing does not happen again.
Queerphobia in Brazil
LGBTQ people share many of the same legal rights as straight people. Same-sex marriage was legalized a few years ago. Same-sex couples can adopt. Trans people can change gender (but only after surgery). Gay people can serve in the military.
But despite all these legal protections, Brazil still has a serious problem with anti-LGBTQ discrimination. There’s an epidemic of violence — a study estimates that one LGBTQ person is murdered in the country every 25 hours. The problem came to the forefront last month when a horrifying video of a group of men beating a trans woman before dragging her off to kill her went viral.
And even if it’s forbidden to fire someone for being gay, it’s not easy to prove discrimination was the cause.
Update: Itaú Unibanco ITM has submitted the following statement alleging that the employee was fired for “improper conduct relating to multiple client issues.”
Itaú’s code of ethics clearly states that discrimination against anyone, including for gender, skin color, social status, religion, age, sexual orientation, disabilities, and others, is unacceptable. We consider any such behavior to be an affront to the dignity of the individual which is not tolerated at Itaú.
We have carefully investigated the case in question. The investigation determined that the cause of the dismissal was improper conduct relating to multiple client issues. All employees have access to a private and confidential channel, called Ombudsman, to address any kind of issues they have. The employee had previously been warned regarding the conduct and the ultimate dismissal of the employee had absolutely nothing to do with sexual orientation.
Itaú is committed to the highest standards of an open, tolerant, and welcoming environment for all employees, regardless of sexual orientation.
(Header image via Alejandro Escamilla)