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Former employee alleges gay discrimination at SACU
QSanAntonio.com, April 5, 2012

A former employee of the San Antonio Federal Credit Union is circulating a petition on Change.org alleging that gay employees are not allowed to use the same bathroom as heterosexual employees and are forbidden to "discuss their families freely at work."

The former employee, Keith Crabtree, also writes that "A whistleblower who reported these discriminatory practices to the Human Resources Department was terminated for doing so."

In the petition, titled "Stop Stop Discriminatory Treatment of Gay Employees at San Antonio Federal Credit Union," Crabtree writes that SACU employees who are gay are not allowed to use the unisex employee restrooms at SACU branches. Instead, he says, they are being told to use the restrooms in the lobby.

In a conference call with Paige Ramsey-Palmer, SACU's corporate communications officer and Malcom Schwarzenbach, director of marketing, Ramsey-Palmer gave QSanAntonio the following statement:

"We respectfully, disagree with the allegations that the former employee has made. We are an equal opportunity and an affirmative action employer and we take these allegations very seriously. We feel that this is not a legal process in going through this forum to answer these questions. There are other methods that the employee has, other than posting on a web site to get responses. We are bound to keep employee matters confidential."

When asked about SACU's non-discrimination policy Ramsey-Palmer said, "In practice, SACU does not allow discrimination for sexual orientation . . ."

However, SACU's policy does not explicitly include sexual orientation or gender identity.

The policy reads: "SACU is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate against any applicant or employee on the basis of the person’s race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, veteran status, or any other category protected by state or federal laws or local ordinances.”

"Sexual orientation is included with the wording 'any other category protected by state or federal laws or local ordinances,'" explained Ramsey-Palmer.

A few hours after speaking with QSanAntonio, Ramsey-Palmer sent an email addressing the individual allegations made in Crabtree's petition. She confirmed the following:

"- Concerning restroom use, no employee is prohibited from using any of the facilities.

- There is no way that SACU can prevent an employee from talking about their families. Employees are able to take personal calls except when a member is waiting to be served.

- The only reason for intervention would be if language is perceived as inappropriate or offensive.

- We are unaware of any employee’s having been terminated for making a whistleblower complaint about discriminatory practices at SACU."

Ramsey-Palmer also said that SACU had delivered a cease and desist letter to Crabtree "because the inaccurate statements he has posted online have the potential to cause harm to our reputation and affect our business."



Singled out

Crabtree, 47, told QSanAntonio he was employed by SACU since October 2011. "I was working at an SACU branch and, beginning late last year, started being singled out by my manager."

Crabtree's boss is the branch manager of SACU's location at 14570 Huebner Rd. While he worked at the facility, Crabtree says he was the only male employee at the branch.

"On New Year's Eve, she instructed me that I could no longer use the unisex employee bathroom at our location," says Crabtree, "instead requiring me to use the men's room in the lobby that customers use."

"As the new year began, my manager started creating bogus write-ups for things that did not occur," says Crabtree. "Having been a senior manager before, I knew she was trying to create a paper trail to eventually get rid of me. I've seen it happen dozens of times."

In the weeks that followed Crabtree says his manager told him he had to use a separate entrance and exit than other employees and she ignored his requests for time off. He says he also had to work more weekends than other employees.

Despite feeling like he was being persecuted, Crabtree says he maintained a respectful and courteous tone with his manager, never confronting her in anger.

"Perhaps the most offensive incident took place on January 13 of this year," he recalls. "My manager told me that I could not speak of anything gay in any form or fashion. She said she should not have to hear it."

Crabtree says that his co-workers knew he was gay. "Having been professionally closeted for the first 32 years of my life, I have -- for the last 15 years -- answered honestly when approached. So, through routine, everyday conversations my co-workers learned that I was gay and have been with my partner for 11 years."

On March 7, Crabtree says he went to SACU's Human Resources Department with written documentation and requested the following:

"1. an immediate end to the discriminatory practices outlined therein; including the ability to speak of my family, as other employees are allowed and the right to use the same restroom as other employees.

2. an explanation for each of the outright lies contained in the bogus write-ups and removal of them from my file.

3. a response to my vacation request submitted several weeks prior.

4. an explanation as to why my resolved teller outage had not been cleared.

5. transfer to a branch location where a hostile, discriminatory work environment against men and gay persons was not the norm."

On March 22, when he called HR to see if they would conduct an investigation, Crabtree says "I was told I was no longer needed and that I could punch out and go home. I did so. A few days later, I received a letter stating some bogus reasons why I was terminated."

Crabtree has filed a complaint against SACU with the The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which said that it would conduct an investigation. "They are approaching it as sex discrimination, as I was the only male employee at the branch. Additionally they have charged retaliation because I was terminated for reporting EEOC protected activity," he says.

Crabtree says the experience has left him anxious about the future. "I want you to know that this fight is not one I relish, but I feel like it is the right thing to do even though my health is suffering from the stress of this. I have been amazed at the response to my petition and thank everyone who has signed on so far."

Click here to view Keith Crabtree's petition on Change.org.

 

Gay discrimination at San Antonio Credit Union alleged in EEOC complaint, online petition
San Antonio Current, April 6, 2012
“I’m not really someone who wears my sexuality on my sleeve, but through the normal course of the workday coworkers might ask me about marital status, family, those things,” says Keith Crabtree, 47. “Having been closeted for the first 32 years of my life, I have for the last several years finally started to answer those questions honestly … telling my coworkers that I’m gay, that I’ve been with my partner for 11 years.” Crabtree claims that didn’t fly with a manager at the San Antonio Credit Union branch near Military and Huebner.