A man from Omsk, in southwestern Siberia, is suing a local nutrition store after he was turned down for a position as a sales consultant.
Eduard Zavyalov believes he was discriminated against by the store—called Hardcore—claiming his work experience and qualifications were disregarded because he’s gay.
Hardcore’s human resources director—Natalia Chernorai—said in a formal statement that Zavyalov’s “behavioural mannerisms (feminine speech inflections and gestures), as well as his outward appearance (excessive grooming and provocative clothing),” give the impression that he is gay and thus promotes unconventional sexual relations, Meduza reports.
Chernorai added that by hiring the openly gay Zavyalov, the store would be violating Russia’s ban on gay propaganda because the store also caters to minors.
The Russian law that bans 'gay propaganda'
Russia’s gay propaganda law was introduced in 2013 and bans the "promoting of non-traditional sexual relationships among minors” and “creating a distorted image of the social equivalence of traditional and non-traditional sexual relationships.”
The controversial law was condemned by the European Court of Human Rights last month with the Strasbourg judges saying it actively encourages discrimination against the LGBT+ community.
“By adopting such laws the [Russian] authorities reinforce stigma and encourage homophobia, which is incompatible with the notions of equality, pluralism and tolerance inherent in a democratic society,” a statement from the court read.
A trainer and dietician at Hardcore—Natalya Chistyakova—is running for Omsk city council and has distanced herself from the incident.
Despite her husband being the owner of the nutrition store, she called Chernorai’s statement “shocking” and said “It's wrong, illegal, and certainly discriminatory,”
She added that Zavyalov’s was rejected because his physical fitness didn’t reach the “unofficial standards” of the store and he was only being protected from Hardcore’s homophobic customers.
Zavyalov’s hearing is scheduled to begin on July 24.