Former Cosco Employee Who Was Awarded $420,000 For Discimination Sues Again
Two months after Costco was ordered to pay $420,000 to Juan I. Valera, a gay and HIV-positive employee who was subjected to a hostile work environment, the man sued Cosco again Tuesday, claiming Costco failed to reinstate him as a photo manager which is an act of retaliation because of the jury award and because of his sexual orientation.
On Dec. 3, a jury found that Valera endured a hostile work environment at the Inglewood warehouse and awarded him $420,000 plus $471,240 in attorneys' fees, and another $39,540 in costs. The case started when a new general manager, John Weaver, arrived at Cosco in 2005 and casually used the word "queers" in a statement. Valera took a leave of absence because of the stress, and when he returned asked the assistant general manager to protect him from further insensitive remarks. Instead his work load was doubled and his pay was cut.
Valera was forced to take a second continued stress leave and was demoted to cashier. He was later stripped of his benefits and left with no health insurance. At one point other employees made a video making fun of Valera.
The tape begins with one employee stating to another employee, Carlos Taylor:
"Carlos, I have a dilemma; next Friday is my Auntie Juan's bar mitzvah. He is a transsexual."