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Lesbian Awarded $1.6M Over Boss Forcing Prayer for her Soul

Lesbian Awarded $1.6M Over Boss Forcing Prayer for her Soul

 

A jury has ordered restaurateur Edward Globokar to pay $1.6 million in damages to a former employee after he began using work time to pray for her to be cured of being a lesbian.

The New York Post reports jurors awarded chef Mirella Salemi $1.2 million in punitive damages and $400,000 in compensatory damages.

Salemi quit her job at the Mary Ann restaurant on West Broadway, New York, after what she alleged was a sustained campaign of discrimination by Globokar. The Post reports the former owner of Mary Ann’s made her life a “living hell” by holding employee prayer meetings, some of which were reportedly designed to pray for her soul.

“He not only threatened her soul, but he also threatened her livelihood,” said Derek Smith of Derek Smith Law Group P.C. which specializes in sexual orientation and sexual harassment claims and represented Salemi in this case. “He thought praying might cure her of her sexuality, but she is someone who didn’t need to be saved.”

The verdict, handed down on March 6, noted that while Globokar included all employees in his forced prayer meetings and told all of them that they risked eternal damnation for not sharing in his beliefs, Salemi seemed especially singled out because of her sexual orientation.

As Edge Boston notes, Globokar’s evangelizing over Salemi’s sexual orientation is interesting for the fact that the Mary Ann restaurant is situated on West Broadway in New York City’s TriBeCa neighborhood, an area that has earned a reputation as a prime “gay neighborhood.”

 

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Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to Steven Fernandez.

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118 comments

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11:51AM PDT on Apr 17, 2012

Hu-rah! I'm always glad to see religious bigotry put down. At the same time though, I can't see any justification for anything like that sum of money.

2:16PM PDT on Apr 13, 2012

Just because you don't believe in God, doesn't mean you're right. And we all need prayer for our souls, regardless of your sexual orientation. I don't agree with how this owner behaved, but I still feel it's pathetic that this person was awarded such an obscene amount of money for this.

6:35AM PDT on Apr 10, 2012

I am glad that the owner was punished for what he did to Salemi.

5:54AM PDT on Apr 10, 2012

Michelle F., I didn't bother reading your first post you are "clarifying," the second one was bad enough.

You are for some reason focusing on the amount of money awarded by the jury/judge, rather than the reason for the award. How would a restraining order against her boss help her? She would still be out of a job because of her boss’ absurd conduct. It was not about being harassed by co-workers, but by her BOSS. Your comment “…had him charged to the maximum extent the law allows,” seems to ignore the fact that she did, a civil suit. Perhaps things like that should be considered criminal acts, but they are not. Clearly the outcome shows it was not a waste of the courts time.

Oh yes, and your absurd closing remark, “And if she's reading this, here's a tip for the next time you're harassed by a religious sect. Demand. Pancakes.” Again, you fail to recognize it was not just being harassed by a religious sect, it was being harassed by her employer.

1:29PM PDT on Apr 9, 2012

Only in America one can be pulled from your desk and told to "pray for your soul". I don't care what she was supposed to be praying for, people need to get it in their minds that NOT EVERYONE BELIEVES IN GOD! Okay? Just stop harassing everyone. Good for Salemi, this SOB had no right to do that to her.

8:04AM PDT on Apr 9, 2012

I don't think he'll ever try it again. Good lesson!

3:07AM PDT on Apr 9, 2012

ohhh,not good mix work with religion...if it muslim country who cares then:no rewards for nothing.

8:56PM PDT on Apr 8, 2012

I'm glad for her that she got a substantial amount of money, but she did go through hell, being singled out. And NO employee should have to put up with his boss evangelizing over him! She was a chef and there to cook. Sorry for your pain, Salemi.

6:21PM PDT on Apr 8, 2012

I don't think so much money was warranted, but this Edward guy does sound like a douche- I bet he wouldn't worry about praying for the soul of some married guy having an affair with a co-worker, or some other type of heterosexual "misdeed."...

1:47PM PDT on Apr 8, 2012

More proof that religion and the workplace JUST DON'T MIX. Good for the chef for winning that lawsuit-her boss was nothing more than a bigoted asshat and deserved what he got!

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