A Virginia man says he was fired from his job at 7-Eleven because he is openly gay and after he was the alleged victim of a sexual and physical assault, Portsmouth, Virginia’s NBC-affiliate station WAVY TV reports.
According to police, Bradley Kindrick of Virginia Beach says he was kissed and physically assaulted by another man while working as a clerk at 7-Eleven last month. Kindrick told authorities the incident occurred around 2:30 in the morning when the man walked in the convenient store and started flirting with him.
"I go over and he grabs me and slams me up against the wall. I’m finally able to break free from him and I run to the back and I get my co-worker," Kindrick told WAVY TV. "I was scared to death. I was scared that something was going to go further... that he was going to do something really bad to me." He added that the suspect also forcibly kissed him.
Kindrick says a few days later, the store’s manager fired him. He had been working at the nightshift at the store for just three months.
"I think because I am openly homosexual I think that they think maybe somebody would come in and do it again," Kindrick said. "I think that they made up a reason to let me go because they didn’t want stuff like that happening at that store, and they felt like if they kept me, something like that would happen."
He added that managers told him he was let go because he was drunk on the job but Kindrick insists that he had nothing to drink. The convenience store, however, insists that Kindrick was drinking at the time of the incident.
Police are currently searching for a suspect, who was caught on the convenient store’s security camera.
Virginia does not have any hate crimes protection or job protection on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
A similar incident occurred earlier this month when Tim Phares, a waiter at an Applebee’s in Rice Lake, Wis., was attacked by his coworker’s husband because the couple objected to his sexual orientation. After the beating, Phares says the restaurant’s manager asked him not to return to work because the incident would attract too much negative attention. Applebee’s spokesman Dam Smith, however, denies the accusation and said the franchise group’s CEO actually asked Phares to continue to work at the restaurant.