Justin P. Nichols, attorney for a transgender man who says he was fired unjustly from AT&T last year, issued the following statement on November 7.
On Wednesday, November 5th, a Bexar County district judge granted Matthew Hileman’s request to put three AT&T employees under oath, and depose them about alleged discrimination which occurred in September of last year, and was subject to the first complaint under the city’s new Non-Discrimination Ordinance.
Judge David Canales ruled Hileman can depose Hortencia Morales (Hileman’s manager at AT&T), Roppal Anderson and Gerry Bush (the two employees Hileman alleges are heard on an audio recording making threatening and discrminatory comments about LGBT people).
AT&T hired the lawfirm of Ogletree Deakins, one of the most prominent employment firms in the nation, to defend against Hileman’s request. The parties are currently working to select dates and locations for the depositions, but its unclear whether AT&T plans to appeal the judge’s ruling.
Hileman was working for Resource Global Professions in May of 2013 providing information consulting services to AT&T. His work was performed at the AT&T facility on North St. Mary’s Street.
While working at AT&T, Hileman says he overheard fellow employees say they would use violence if they found a trans person in the restroom, he was outed to his co-workers and he came to work one day to find a sign on his chair that had a “no fags” symbol on it.
When he reported these incidents to his supervisors, he was told to not come to work until his claims could be verified. He was never asked to return.
Since January, Hileman has pursued the claim under the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance and been hampered by the city’s lack of procedural guidelines for claimants under the new law.
For its part, AT&T says it has investigated Hileman’s claims and found no wrongdoing. The city urged the two parties to try and work it out.
In August, Hileman and his lawyer Justin Nichols met with AT&T’s attorney, Diego Pena, and two other company representatives to discuss Hileman’s claim. The result of that meeting proved fruitless.
On September 5, Hileman gave the San Antonio Current a recording he says he made while working at AT&T. In the recording, two men, who Hileman says are fellow employees, make disparaging remarks about transgender men. One of the men on the recording says that a transgender man in the men’s restroom might be subject to an “ass whooping.”