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(Other) Lawsuit of the Day: Gay Skydiving Instructor Sues Over Firing

Well, chute (that's a pun, not a typo; read on). Just when you go and declare something the Legal Blog Watch Lawsuit of the Day, the interwebs (via the tips of friends and colleagues) go and try to prove you wrong.

Deadspin and the New York Post bring us the story of Donald Zarda, the erstwhile skydiving instructor who was fired for something he says he couldn't have done. Zarda is suing his former employer, Skydive Long Island, for discrimination. It seems a female customer (identified only as "Rosanna") who completed a tandem jump -- with Zarda strapped to her back -- complained to management that Zarda had touched her inappropriately, and followed up with a comment to the effect of "Don't worry, I'm gay."

Now Zarda claims that the touching allegation is bogus -- because he's "100 percent gay" -- and that the sort of sexual banter in which he admittedly engaged is part and parcel of the tandem skydiving experience, seeing as how having an experienced jumper harnessed tightly to you is the thing that prevents you from dying. Thus, by the bizarro transitive property, the only reason Zarda could have been canned was because of the revelation, conveyed to his boss by Rosanna, that he was gay.

The lawyer for Skydive Long Island says that's not the case. His client was well aware of Zarda's preference prior to Rosanna's jump, and Zarda's dismissal was occasioned by repeated incidents of "inappropriate workplace behavior."

I've recently been convinced to try jumping out of a plane. It's my "birthday present" from the girlfriend (though I'm pretty sure she just wants to see me pee my pants and hear me scream like a little girl so that she can forevermore have "hand"). Let me go on the record right now as stating that the sexual preference of the person strapped to my back concerns me not a whit. All I need to know is that his or her cord-pulling hand works, and that he or she will not die on the way down.

Posted by Eric Lipman on October 5, 2010 at 12:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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