A gay teen in South Dakota says he quit his job at fast-food chain Taco John's after a manager forced him to wear a name tag reading 'Gaytard' - and now he's looking into legal action.
However, the Yanktown franchise's manager disputes 16-year-old Tyler Brandt's claims, saying he came up with the name-tag nickname himself.
The alleged incident took place Monday night, when Brandt says his 'agitated' and 'verbally abusive' manager pulled him into the office and gave him the name tag with 'Gaytard' on it while laughing.
So here we have a "he said; he said" situation. With enough quotes, we can know who is telling the truth. Unfortunately, media often edits quotes, or leaves us only with their own interpretation of what was said.
That's not my name: 16-year-old Tyler Brandt says he was forced to wear this name tag at his fast-food job in Yanktown, South Dakota
Resignation: Brandt (left) says quit his job at Taco John's (right) the morning after his manager made him wear the name tag
Brandt had been struggling to learn the new job and was afraid to getting fired, so he agreed to wear the name tag.
'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,' Brant told Keloland.
We note that he tells why he put it on, but not if he wrote it, or the manager wrote it.
He then uses the word "felt", which is reduced commitment.
He then tells us why he "felt" that upsetting the manager would cause him to lose his job: "he'd be looking for ways to fire me."
"He was looking for ways to fire me" would have been past tense, equaling a stronger commitment.
Here, the quote is, "he'd be looking" which is future tense. This reduces commitment.
He says he spent the night standing behind the till so customers wouldn't see the homophobic slur on his name tag, but Brandt says his manager continued to call him by the name across the store.
Brandt tried taking off the tag several times, but his manager kept telling him to put it back on.
Singled out: Brandt, pictured in photo posted to Facebook, says he's looking into suing the franchise for discrimination
By 11:30pm, Brandt was so frustrated that he asked how long was left in the shift, at which point the manager yelled and him and told him to
'Get the f*** out' of the restaurant.
After talking about the situation with his boyfriend and other friends, Brandt decided to resign the next morning.
He went into the restaurant to return his uniform but kept the name tag as evidence.
However, restaurant manager John Scott says he didn't force Brandt to wear the name tag, and didn't come up with the nickname.
'He asked the manager to make that name tag for him,' Scott told the Press & Dakotan. 'He (the manager) didn't tell him he had to wear it. (Brandt) put it on himself and created the situation.'
How bright can the manager be to comply with such a request?
But Brandt says that idea is offensive.
'Do you really think I'd want to go around making a mockery of who I am?' It's really irritating to think someone could believe I would want that label.'
This is to ask a question and it is not to deny the allegation that he requested the name tag.
Self deprecating humor is common.
It may be "really irritating" but he does not tell us that it is not true.
Taco John's CEO Jeff Linville has since issued a statement, saying the company believes everyone 'should be treated with dignity and respect.'
Imagine how angry the CEO must be, no matter who made the name tag?
'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.
Now both Scott and Brandt are exploring legal action against each other.
'I don't think that any person has to put up with what has been going on. I don't think that anybody should have to put up with any kind of discrimination. It's not fair,' Brandt said.
Note the distancing language.
"any person" is not him, specifically.
"has been going on" is passive, and not specific.
"think" is to reduce commitment.
"any kind of discrimination" is generic and not specific.
I expect someone to have been humiliated in this manner to speak in a strong, up close and personal manner. This insult is about sexuality and intellect. It is a strong insult.
His responses do not match the insult.