After Rasean Tate complained of homophobic slurs thrown his way while providing catering services and food to visiting basketball team the Houston Rockets, he says his Brooklyn restaurant began retaliating against him. The man was banned from working in dressing rooms, locker rooms and private VIP areas and was later suspended without pay for minor infractions.
Rasean Tate, a 28-year-old Brooklyn man, had been working for the Levy Restaurant catering department when he was assigned to provide food services at the Barclays Center for the visiting team, referees and the Brooklyn Nets’ dancers’ locker rooms. While his back was turned setting up a buffet in the visiting team’s locker room, he was taunted with homophobic slurs. One Houston Rockets’ player reportedly said, “Get this f****t out of here,” while another snorted, “He’s trying to catch a sneaky peaky.” Both comments were accompanied by group laughter.
A representative of the Brooklyn Nets witnessed the incident and told Tate to leave the locker room while he took care of it. Since the incident, the Nets’ vice-president of human resources has sent a letter of apology to Levy’s catering manager and the Nets players have attended tolerance and sensitivity training. No players were benched for the offensive comments.
Nonetheless, Tate says his employer has retaliated against him since he made the complaint. He was barred from working in dressing rooms, locker rooms and private VIP area, depriving him of coveted overtime pay. Later, he was suspended without pay for supposedly failing to follow instructions including maintaining a dirty chef table and failing to retrieve a fork for a customer. Tate claims in a lawsuit against Levy Restaurant that the accusations are retaliation for his sexual harassment complaint. Also named in the lawsuit is, of course, the Houston Rockets enterprise that started the entire incident.
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