A heterosexual man who was mocked by his boss as “gay” because he does not eat meat is suing his Wall St employer.

Ryan Pacifico, 28, claims he was harassed by his boss, Robert Catalanello, at French company Calyon.

He was later sacked from his job as a trader, he claims because he was isolated by Mr Catalanello, who would only order meat-based meals for staff and claim Mr Pacifico was gay because of his vegetarianism.

According to papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Mr Catalanello said: “You don’t even eat steak, dude. At what point in time did you realise you were gay?”

It is also alleged that when co-workers challenged him about his behaviour, he said it was Mr Pacifico’s fault for being “a vegetarian homo.”

Mr Pacifico told the New York Daily News:

“A trading floor is certainly a manly man’s world. I just never expected someone to think it’s gay to be a vegetarian or to constantly poke fun at me.”

In a similar case in the UK, a 56-year-old married man who was repeatedly taunted at work about being gay because he lives in Brighton won his case at the Court of Appeal last month.

An employment tribunal and an appeal tribunal had both rejected his claims of discrimination.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission supported his case and said his victory was “a landmark decision.”

The Court of Appeal said that protection should be extended to victims of homophobic abuse at work, even when the perpetrators are aware that the victim is not gay, but the abuse is motivated by homophobia and associated stereotypes.