Fired for being a lesbian
Galician journalist claims she was laid off by the Catholic Cope radio station for her political ideas and lifestyle.18 April 2008
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA - A Galician journalist is taking the Catholic Church-owned Cope radio station to court for the second time in less than a year, when she was laid off just days after a judge had ordered that she should be reinstated at her former job.
Isabel Quintairos, who is a lesbian, had been employed by the Santiago de Compostela radio station for 20 years. She had taken a leave of absence in 2004 to serve as the Galician Nationalist Bloc's (BNG) press chief for the province of A Coruña.
Under her contract with Cope, the radio station was obliged to reinstate Quintairos after her employment ended with the BNG, a leftist-nationalist party that advocates home-rule for the Galicia region.
That time came in July 2007. However, just 24 hours after receiving a warm welcome from the director of Cope's Santiago de Compostela's office, Javier Castro, the station turned against her. She was told the following day that there was no more work for her.
The reason for Castro's sudden change in attitude is unclear. "I did not want to just fill a job - I wanted my old job back," she said.
Quintairos took the case to court, arguing that the Cope's actions amounted to unlawful dismissal.
She noted that the radio station had not given her any reason for not giving her old job back: She said that the real reason for her dismissal was not only because she was a member of the nationalist, leftist political party whose ideas clash with the Church, but that she is a lesbian married to another woman.
The judge ruled in favour of Quintairos on the grounds that the radio station had not been able "to prove that the reasons for Isabel's dismissal were not the ones she claims."
The judge ordered that she should be given her old job back and that happened Thursday last week. She was given a desk in an office separated from the newsroom, where she sat for seven hours without doing anything. The same thing occurred on Friday.
Then, on Monday, she was given a letter of dismissal with a EUR 32,000 check by the radio station. It claimed that she was being laid off for "objective reasons".
Her lawyers are taking the case back to court, claiming that Cope had failed to comply with the judge's ruling.
[El Pais / Anna Flotats / Expatica]