Gay Employee Sues Airline Trade Organization

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Tuesday January 8, 2013

A gay man who worked for Air Transport Association of America in Washington, D.C., is suing the organization. He claims he wasn't fairly paid because of his sexual orientation and that he endured anti-gay abuse from his superviser. The Air Transport Association is the principal trade group for the U.S. airline industry.

Pink News reported that Stephen Farina, a resident of suburban Arlington, Va., worked as an auditor for A4A since 1992. Farina claims that he tried telling upper management for the last four years that he was not being paid enough and pointed out that coworkers were getting paid substantially more for similar work.

According to the news site Inquisitr, he was making only $28,000 when he first started in 1992. When he was promoted to director of industry audits he was being paid $68,000. Other coworkers who held similar positions, however, were making between $100,000 and $160,000.

In addition to being underpaid, Farina also claims that his supervisor made anti-gay remarks. The lawsuit alleges that his boss often said that he opposed gay rights like same-sex marriage, pointedly in Farina's direction. He also allegedly called him and other out-gay co-workers "fag" and "bonafide bone sucker," among other homophobic taunts.

Farina says that he first filed a complaint against A4A with the District of Columbia's Office of Human Rights in May but decided to take the incident up in court. Farina is suing the airline trade organization for at least $1 million in damages and a judge has dismissed the company's motion to dismiss the case.

An association spokeswoman for the organization commented on the incident and told the Washington Blade, "A4A does not tolerate discrimination in any form and intends to vigorously dispute these allegations."