no room at inn

Employee refused to share hotel room with gay co-worker—and internet agrees

A business man lies on a bed in a hotel room
Posed by model (Photo: Shutterstock)

A Reddit user has posted an interesting work dilemma. The woman posted this week to the “AmItheAsshole” subreddit, in which people basically seek to ask others whether they or someone else is being unreasonable in any given dispute.

The 26-year-old woman says she and some co-workers have to go on a business trip. The boss will have his own room. Two male colleagues will be sharing. Her boss has informed the employee she will also be sharing. But not with a woman.

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“I was assigned a room (same type as boss and colleagues) that I was to share with my other colleague, who is openly gay. I do not have a problem with him being gay. But I told my boss to book us separate rooms because I do not want to share a room with a man no matter his sexuality and asked for him to room with the other men instead (i.e. they could book a suite with three beds instead of the current two).”

The woman’s boss responded, “that it was unreasonable to expect the exchequer to pay extra just cuz I want comfort. I told him it was not for comfort but for the above reasons. He seemed to understand and tried to explain his perspective and that since [co-worker] was gay there would be no quoted ‘undesirable consequences’ and that if the # was straight I would have got a private room.”

“[Boss] then shouted and called me homophobic and that there would be no problem and I yelled at him saying he had no respect for his female worker’s wishes, another colleague stepped out of his office and then broke up our argument but on hearing the situation lightly berated me as he thought there were no problems since he was gay, and that [he] wouldn’t have a problem rooming with a lesbian female.”

The boss then called one of the other male colleagues going on the trip and asked his opinion on the matter.

According to the woman, this colleague said, “It was okay to share a room with a gay man but if I wanted my own room I should be allowed to have it and suggested I pay the difference out of my paycheck. I disagreed with this saying I shouldn’t pay for a company business trip.”

The woman wanted to know if she was being unreasonable.

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The internet’s response was pretty unanimous: She was not being unreasonable.

“‘Undesirable consequences’ translates to, don’t worry he’s gay so won’t hit on you or assault you, which is a whole ball of WTF,” said one commentator. “You not wanting to share a room with someone of a different gender should be enough. They don’t know your history or if you have religious reasons for it (not that you need them). Is there an HR department that you can discuss this with?”

Another asked how the gay man might feel about it: “As a gay man myself I utterly loathe the assumption that I would be happy to share a room with a woman. Your company sounds homophobic if they’re making these kinds of assumptions about a gay employee.”

The original poster responded to this by saying the gay colleague, “doesn’t mind either way and wants to stay out of the drama.”

Other gay men offered their opinion.

“I’m a gay man and I wouldn’t want to stay in the same room with a woman. I wouldn’t feel comfortable. I’m also betting that the other men don’t want to stay in the room with him because he is gay and they are probably afraid he will hit on them. If I were put in this situation I, as a gay man, would go to the boss and let them know they need to respect your wishes and allow you the privacy you deserve. And that is what your coworker MUST do. And the gay coworker can stay with the boss.”

“​​I’m gay too,” said another. “From the sounds of this boss’s thinking, I assume he’d hit on any woman he shared a room with. Does that mean I should have been hitting on every straight man I shared a room with? ‘Cos I haven’t, am I leaving a trail of hurt straight men behind me thinking they weren’t cute enough for me to hit on them?”

Many said the company should just pay for individual rooms for all staff.

“I’m not sure why companies think it’s ok to cheap out on hotel accommodations and force employees to share rooms; you’re adults, not kids at a damn summer camp. If you’re at a conference or congress, you’re on all day. It is completely reasonable that you get somewhere quiet and private to rest and recharge.”

Queerty has reached out to the original poster to find out if there’s been any further resolution on the matter.

Have you ever had to share a hotel room with a colleague despite feeling uncomfortable? Was the woman within her rights to demand she not share with a gay man in this situation?