To Hell and Back

A travel agency employee in America's gay vacation mecca complains of homophobia

The specialist, who was employed for two years with the tourism company, describes Menist's treatment of Lant as "constant harassment." He complained both verbally and in writing to Carmichael in Human Resources and also brought up the matter with Menist.

"Absolutely nothing was done," he says. "I complained and several others did about Sam frequently calling Andy those names, and it was like no one heard us."

Over time, Lant says the harassment worsened. He claims he was asked to do impossible projects such as organizing financial records the company did not have. "I was written up for not doing it," he says, exasperated. "I just felt at the time they were looking for an excuse to punish me."

Lant and three employees also say that Menist would frequently pass gas or burp loudly around the office. "None of this was funny," says the network engineer, who still uses Menist as a reference. "It was just the most stressful, disgusting work environment I've ever experienced. Andy took the worst of it, though. I saw him leave with nosebleeds."

According to notes from his Miami doctor, Lant was treated November 7, 2000, and January 4, 2001, for "excessive nosebleed" and "stress-related anxiety."

After his November 7 doctor's visit, Lant says he told Carmichael in Human Resources that Menist's harassment was affecting him physically. He hoped that might spur the company to sanction Menist. Instead, Lant was told to see a therapist as part of the company's employee assistance program. During six sessions between mid-December 2000 and early January 2001, Lant told Dr. Kate Predoville that he had been repeatedly called derogatory names related to his sexual preference.

"I felt ridiculous talking to this doctor about what was going on at work," he says. "I wanted something to change. I didn't feel like I was the problem. I want some answers, a reply from this company that stood by and let this abuse go on."

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