NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A food server at Barclays Center has claimed that Houston Rockets players assaulted him with homophobic slurs in 2013 at the home of the Nets, according to the New York Post.
After complaining that he was abused, the gay waiter was fired by the catering company he worked for. Rasean Tate of Brooklyn has filed a federal lawsuit against the Rockets and Levy Restaurant Holdings for civil-rights violations and anti-gay discrimination, according to the newspaper.
The incident occurred on February 22, 2013, according to the Post, when Tate was setting up a buffet in the Rockets’ locker room.
“When the plaintiff’s back was turned to defendant Rockets players, he began to hear laughter and taunting voices saying ‘get this f—– out of here!'” the lawsuit said, according to the newspaper. “‘He’s trying to catch a sneaky-peeky!’”
The hurtful comments allegedly didn’t end there.
“These series of comments were repeated a number of times by defendant Rockets players and staff,” the suit said, according to the New York Post. “Plaintiff could hear defendant Rockets players overlapping voices and laughter.”
According to the lawsuit, Tate was told by a Nets representative to leave and that the situation would be taken care of. But the lawsuit claims that after Tate complained about the situation, he was given fewer work hours and his pay took a hit.
“This was solely in retaliation for his complaints about the harassment and discrimination he faced by defendant Rockets players and because of plaintiff’s sexual orientation,” the suit says, according to the newspaper.
According to the lawsuit, Tate was later suspended and ultimately let go.
“What happened to my client was deplorable,” said, Tate’s lawyer, Marjorie Mesidor, according to the New York Post. “It should not be tolerated by the Houston Rockets or Levy’s. What they needed to do was address his concerns, not retaliate against him for having the courage to speak up.”
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