A 16-year-old took a job at a South Dakota Taco John’s, but didn’t sign on for verbal abuse from his manager. Finally, he says, the worst insult came earlier this week when his manager handed him a nametag with “♡GAYTARD♡” printed on it and forced him to wear it for his whole shift, including in front of customers.
The word, a combination of “gay” and “retard,” should be offensive to all human beings, and certainly should never have been inflicted on a gay teen by his boss. The ex-employee claims that his manager was verbally abusive to him from the beginning. “I’ve been very vulnerable and I’ve been allowing him to say things to me that shouldn’t be said,” he told TV station KELO.
The blog NewNowNext, a publication of the GLBT-themed LOGO cable network, claims to have interviewed to the restaurant’s manager, who claims that the now-departed employee himself was behind the offending nametag. “Everyone has a nickname here, and he wanted a nickname. [Gaytard is] what he picked for a nickname,” the manager explained. He counters that the teen asked a manager to make a nametag with the nickname on it, then put it on himself before quitting on Tuesday. “The [other] manager didn’t force him to do anything,” explained the store manager.
In a statement to KELO, the CEO of Taco John’s called the alleged harassment and abusive nametagging “deplorable.”
At Taco John’s, we believe everyone should be treated with dignity and respect. We take any accusation of workplace harassment very seriously. The type of discrimination that reportedly took place recently in the Yankton, South Dakota restaurant is deplorable. Such actions will not be tolerated by our company. Taco John’s is committed to doing all we can to make certain nothing like this happens again in any of our restaurants.
The ex-employee wants to pursue legal action against the restaurant, and is now looking for a lawyer.