Former vice-president of Talent & Inclusion Charter Communications Javier Barrientos filed a discrimination action against the cable company on Tuesday and said he was fired for arguing for LGBTQ issues
A former Director of Charter Communications sued the telecommunications giant for being fired for being gay and trying to lobby for LGBT employees, but the company's bigwigs shut him down and told him they & # 39; not a priority & # 39; goods.
Javier Barrientos, who was vice president of Talent and inclusion with Charter from April 2018 to June 2019, filed his discrimination action in the US district court district of Connecticut on Tuesday.
Barrientos says he was terminated by Charter, based in Stamford, Connecticut, because he is an openly gay man and tried to argue for Charter LGBTQ employees, according to the complaint filed under Wigdor LLP.
He said he had been through months of push-back for his LGBTQ-supporting initiatives and was eventually fired after two & # 39; non-approved & # 39; had broadcast videos & # 39; s during a Pride Month event where LGBTQ employees talked about their experiences with the cable giant.
Charter Communications, marketed under the Spectrum name, is the second largest cable operator in the US with more than 26 million customers in 41 states.
Javier Barrientos (left and right), served as Vice President of Talent & Inclusion to Charter from April 2018 to June 2019. He claims the company has resisted its efforts to advocate for LGBTQ employees who culminated in his termination after he had two pro LGBTQ videos & # 39; s broadcast with LGBTQ employees reflecting on their experience with the company during the Pride month
The complaint alleges that Barrientos was hired because of his more than 10 years of experience in advocating for underrepresented groups in the workforce. He said he was shocked when his Rhonda Crichlow (above), Chief Diversity Officer of Charter, told him that issues related to the LGBTQ community simply & # 39; not a priority & # 39; were at Charter
The complaint against Charter and his boss Rhonda Crichlow, Chief Diversity Officer of Charter, claims that Barrientos has been hired because of his more than 10 years of experience in advocating for underrepresented groups in the workforce.
& # 39; Barrientos was therefore shocked when his boss Rhonda Crichlow briefly told him that issues affecting the LGBTQ community in the Charter simply & # 39; not a priority & # 39; were & # 39 ;, says the complaint.
He was confronted with push-back at the company in the first quarter of the year when he proposed to sign Charter an amicus short-term human rights campaign stating that LGBTQ employees were entitled to a non-discriminatory work environment.
In July 2019, more than 200 companies had expressed support for this.
When Barrientos also argued for Charter, Crichlow told him that such an attitude & # 39; incompatible & # 39; was with the culture of Charter.
Barrientos further said that he had prepared a number of comprehensive guidelines to help employees transfer their gender identities and / or expressions and that the company buried them and did not submit them for approval.
Furthermore, Charter did not have any LGBTQ person on its external diversity board.
Barrientos claimed that he suggested that Charter give a speech about the Stonewall Riots during the Pride Month, but that it was shut down because the event as & # 39; too controversial & # 39; Was considered.
He says the complaint told him to suspend initiatives he had planned to promote a more hospitable environment for LGBTQ employees.
In the complaint, Barrientos said that Charter displayed discriminatory behavior towards him that led to his termination in June 2019.
In the discrimination complaint he mentions Charter Communications and his boss Rhonda Crichlow
The complaint says that Barrientos refused to accept the push-back of the company against its LGBTQ advocacy during the Pride month. He was eventually fired when he played two videos in which LGBTQ employees talked about their experience in the company, which was not approved by his superiors.
& # 39; Charter terminated Mr. Barrientos for the aforementioned reason that during Pride Month he showed two innocent pro-LGBTQ videos with LGBTQ employees reflecting on their experiences at the company & # 39 ;, said the complaint .
Barrientos said the Charter's marketing department created advertising spots for minority groups to recognize and support such groups. However, he said he was shocked by the Pride Month video that the department made.
The complaint alleged that commercial & # 39; looked like it was beaten up quickly without budget or resources & # 39 ;.
His own department then made three internal videos & # 39; s released as part of the LGBTQ Pride Month entitled & # 39; Proud @ Charter & # 39; with testimonials from LGBTQ employees of the company who were open about their sexual orientation and gender identity at work.
Charter Communications, marketed as Spectrum, is the second largest cable operator in the US with more than 26 million customers in 41 states
However, the company refused to show the videos to the LGBTQ Employee Resource Group or post them on the company's intranet, except for one clip heavily edited by Crichlow and other officials, the complaint says.
Barrientos says that ultimately all that Charter did to observe Pride Month was two short videos that he helped create and hold a Charter Inclusion Talk. The complaint alleges that such celebrations have faded compared to the efforts that the company has invested in celebrating other marginalized groups.
Barrientos claims that he was punished for showing the two & # 39; s videos, although they are still & # 39; officially approved & # 39; had to be. He says that the pro-LGBTQ video & # 39; s resonated with the audience and resulted in multiple applause rounds.
He says that after the videos were broadcast, Crichlow grabbed him at the reception of the event and accused him of misconduct by showing the videos and warning him to say "you need your future with this company reconsider & # 39 ;.
The next day she wrote to him that she would accept his resignation.
Barrientos replied that he did not want to resign and continue his work. He then filed a complaint with HR about Crichlow's behavior.
The next business day, HR Barrientos announced that the company decided to fire him because he was showing those two unapproved videos.
& # 39; Charter, a company with more than 100,000 employees, must be at the forefront of the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Instead, as claimed in the complaint filed today, Charter told Mr. Barrientos that problems with the LGBTQ community are not a priority & # 39; and eventually ended him because he had the courage to support his LGBTQ employees, & Michael 39 Willemin, a partner at Wigdor LLP, said.
A large part of Barrientos' career is dedicated to overcoming discrimination that LGBTQ employees face in the workplace. He has worked in diversity positions for Amazon, BioGen and Blue Cross Blue Shield.
He now works for T-Mobile as a Director of Diversity and Inclusion Engagement in Seattle, Washington.
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