Former employee alleges gay discrimination at SACU
QSanAntonio.com, April 5, 2012
A former employee of the San Antonio Federal Credit Union is circulating
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
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."
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
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,"
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."
here to view Keith Crabtree's petition on Change.org.
discrimination at San Antonio Credit Union alleged in EEOC complaint,
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