My partner Kyle was thrilled when he was hired at the experimental KFC Eleven store in Louisville, Kentucky as a shift manager. But from the moment his subordinates discovered he was gay, problems began: insubordination when the General Manager was off, name calling (such as "Fruity Pebbles") even when the manager was there. Having grown up in a conservative area, Kyle was accustomed to homophobia – so he mostly let it slide. However, his General Manager made no effort to stop it.
One person in particular made it her mission to get him fired. Last Tuesday, September 3, she approached Kyle as he was clocking into work to tell him she was leaving an hour and a half early. After being advised that she must stay until her scheduled time, she became rude to customers and line staff – eventually yelling and refusing to move to the back of the store away from dining room customers. She stormed out of the store and called her mother, who later confront Kyle in the parking lot. The employee was overheard saying to her clique, “I’ll have that little faggot’s job.” But rather than check surveillance tape or investigate her statement about his job, the area coach sent Kyle home and kept the insubordinate employee at work. He was immediately fired upon returning to work the next day.
Although corporate management had repeatedly praised Kyle’s performance during the store’s opening and he was recognized less than a week earlier for leading a successful franchise demonstration, the area coach failed to follow even the most basic protocol in investigating the employee’s claims – just as he had done nothing to stop the discrimination the crew member had been showing toward Kyle and other LGBT team members.
KFC Eleven: don’t become just another homophobic chicken restaurant! Investigate the incident and the reported behavior leading up to it to show that workplace discrimination is unacceptable in any case. If KFC is unwilling to protect its employees – gay or straight, black or white, man or woman – then what respect can its team members or its customers expect when they walk through the doors?