A Manhattan chef will see her largest payday ever after a state appellate court upheld a $1.6 million judgment against her former employer. Edward Globokar, owner of Tribecamex, will fork over the big bucks to his openly lesbian chef.
The verdict resulted from Globokar’s behavior at a restaurant he previously owned between 2004 and 2007. According to the complaint, Globokar required employees to attend weekly prayer meetings where he described homosexuality as a sin and told the employees that homosexuals were all going to hell.
The chef filed suit under state law alleging discrimination because of her sexual orientation.
The court awarded her the $1.6 million in 2012 and Globokar appealed. He claimed the verdict infringed on his freedom of religion, an argument the court dismissed. In its opinion, the appeals court said, “The trial court properly protected Globokar’s First Amendment rights by instructing the jury that he had a right to express his religious beliefs and practice religion, providing that he does not discriminate against his employees based on religion or sexual orientation.”
As far as the large amount, the court ruled, “Given the extensive evidence of defendants’ discriminatory conduct, we do not find that the punitive damages award was grossly excessive.”
Note: The law doesn’t recognize firmly held religious beliefs as an excuse to discriminate.