When Matthew Hileman went to work
at AT&T on September 18, he found a note, similar to the illustration
above, on his chair.
Transgender man files complaint against AT&T
for violation of NDO
QSanAntonio, January 7, 2014
A transgender man who was fired from AT&T in San Antonio is using
guidelines from the recently enacted nondiscrimination ordinance to file
a complaint with the city attorney's office claiming the company dismissed
him because of his gender identity.
The complaint was delivered on January 7 by the office of attorney Justin
P. Nichols to deputy city attorney Veronica M. Zertuche, on behalf of
the complainant, Matthew Hileman.
The complaint is the first filed under the nondiscrimination ordinance,
which was passed by the City Council on September 5 of last year.
The new law requires any company that does business with the city to include
LGBT protections in their nondiscrimination policies. AT&T has active
and ongoing contracts with the city.
According to a copy of the complaint obtained by QSanAntonio, Hileman
began working for Resource Global Professions in May of 2013 providing
information consulting services to AT&T. His work was performed exclusively
at the AT&T facility on N. St. Mary's Street.
Hileman identifies and presents himself as a male. He and his wife are
longtime residents of San Antonio. He was hired as a man and until the
time of the complaint, he never told anyone at AT&T that he was transgender.
On September 4, Hileman says he heard two fellow employees, Ropel Anderson
and Gerry Bush, discussing the then-proposed nondiscrimination ordinance.
The complaint states, "Anderson and Bush were specifically
and personally overheard by Hileman stating their desire and willingness
to commit acts of violence against transgendered persons, particularly
if such a person was discovered in a restroom."
The conversation took place in an open area of the workplace where other
employees could hear what was said.
Hileman reported the incident to his AT&T supervisor, Hortencia Morales,
revealing to her that he was transgender and feared for his safety. Morales
informed Ralph Elke the department manager who then met with Lanie Smith,
Hileman was told he had to make a formal complaint with the AT&T Human
Resources department which he did on September 7. At that time, he was
asked to sign a statement saying he felt safe to return to work.
According to the complaint, "On or about September 13, 2013, Hileman
was told by Morales he would need to meet with AT&T’s Human
Resourcse department to assist in the investigation of the complaint.
Hileman attended a meeting and was told the matter would be resolved."
When Hileman went to work at AT&T on September 18, there was a piece
of paper on his chair with the message "no fag" (similar to
the illustration at top) on it.
Hileman realized that Anderson and Bush must have been told of the complaint
and probably learned he was transgender. Hileman left the office out of
fear for his safety and reported the incident to his supervisors.
Hileman was asked to bring the paper with the offensive message to the
Human Resources Department. At that time he expressed discomfort at having
to work with Bush and Anderson. He returned to the office to pick up some
of his personal belongings with the understanding that he would be reassigned.
On September 20, Hileman was contacted by Amada Stewart of AT&T and
told that some additional personal belongings of his were found in the
office and they would be shipped to him by mail. After that, Hileman never
heard from AT&T or Resource Global Professions again.
In October, after not being reassigned to another position, Hileman applied
for unemployment benefits and was approved, a sign that AT&T no longer
intended to employ him.
The complaint acknowledges that AT&T "is a strong corporate ally
to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community." This
year, AT&T scored a rating of 100 percent in the Human Rights Campaign's
Corporate Equality Index. Despite this, Hileman believes his case was
In the complaint, Hileman says he "feels strongly both the letter
and spirit of the City’s NDO were not followed in this case, and
that AT&T, as a large contractor for the City, needs to fully investigate
and resolve this complaint to bring it into full compliance with the NDO."
In the concluding paragraph of the complaint attorney Nichols writes:
"Hileman was a good employee, who reasonably reported inappropriate,
discriminatory, and threatening conduct by his AT&T coworkers. Regrettably,
the complaint was woefully mishandled, Hileman’s privacy was intimately
violated, and an already hostile environment turned into direct threats
towards Hileman, resulting in the loss of his job. Hileman hopes the City
will conduct a full investigation into this matter, assist the parties
in reconciling their dispute, and take other actions as the City may deem
man files first NDO complaint, lawyer says
KENS5.com, January 8, 2014
A transgender man claims he feared for his life and left his job after
coworkers threatened him. Now he hopes the city's ordinance to protect
the LGBT community that was approved four months ago forces his former
employer do what he considers the right thing.
trans AT&T employee files complaint
Dallas Voice, January 10, 2013
A transgender AT&T employee has filed the first complaint under San
Antonio’s new nondiscrimination ordinance, which protects against
bias based on sexual orientation and gender identity.