Stagehand Prejudice Suit To Proceed

A stagehand who filed a discrimination claim against the Nashville local theater workers union will be allowed to proceed with a federal lawsuit following a recent appeals court ruling.

Marty Gilbert claimed in a 2009 suit that he faced retaliation from the Local 46 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees after he complained that another member used a gay slur against him and threatened to stab him while working the 2007 CMA Awards show.

Gilbert, who is gay, also claimed in the suit that union officials stopped referring him for jobs and refused to respond to additional complaints he made after another union member made anti-gay comments during a meeting.

In the appeals court opinion, Judges Jeffrey Sutton and Deborah Cook wrote that there is no doubt that “the events Gilbert describes, if true, are at least in bad taste if not themselves deserving of condemnation.” The ruling instructed a federal court in Nashville to reinstate Gilbert’s suit against Local 46.

Attorneys for Local 46 have maintained the union never discriminated against or failed to represent Gilbert.

While the case may now proceed, Gilbert won’t be able to follow through on all of his original claims. The appellate court found he had no grounds to sue IATSE because he couldn’t prove it was involved with Local 46’s decisions. The court also dismissed his claims against the Country Music Association and Country Music Television.

Gilbert’s suit seeks lost wages, damages and reinstatement in the union.