A 16-year-old from South Dakota says he was so terrified of being fired for being gay he would do anything to keep his job
A gay teenage fast food worker has claimed he was forced ‘Gaytard’ on his nametag.
Tyler Brandt, 16, from Yankton, South Dakota, was working in a Taco John’s restaurant earlier this year and said he had a very difficult relationship with his manager.
‘I’ve been very vulnerable and I’ve been allowing him to say things to me that shouldn’t be said, and after a while I was jut worried about being terminated from my position at Taco John’s,’ the teen said.
One day, the manager allegedly called Brandt into his office and told him he had a special nametag for him to wear.
Instead of his name, however, it was something horrific.
Brandt said: ‘He pulled me into the office and gave me a nametag that read “Gaytard” on it and asked me to wear it.
‘So, I put it on because I didn’t want to upset him and I felt that if I did do anything to upset him, it would cause me to lose my job because he’d be looking for ways to fire me.’
When he tried to remove the nametag, Brandt says his manager forced him to put it back on in full view of customers.
Even though he tried to stay behind the till, so the customers couldn’t see the belittling name, the teen said the manager would still call him ‘Gaylord’.
When he couldn’t take it anymore, he quit his job.
The manager at Taco John’s has refused to comment on the situation.
But in a statement to KELOLAND News, Taco John’s CEO Jeff Linville said: ‘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.’
South Dakota has no laws that protect LGBTI people from discrimination at work.