A Wisconsin waitress claims she was fired last week after she refused to serve a group of transphobic customers, according to WGBA.
On October 12, Brittany Spencer was serving a number of guests at Fat Joe's Bar & Grill in Fond du Lac when some of them allegedly started making derogatory statements about gender identity as a transgender woman sat nearby.
"They were asking me if I thought it was disgusting and wrong and why we would let someone like that into the establishment," Spencer said. "To which I answered, 'No, I do not agree with that,' and walked away."
Spencer said she asked her manager if another person could serve the table but was told to either "suck it up or go home." She chose to leave.
Tad Wallender, one of the owners of Fat Joe's, seemed to confirm Spencer's account in a separate interview with the station, asserting that the restaurant had a duty to serve all customers. Ownership added that it would have sent a server home had that person also refused to serve a transgender customer.
"We don't discriminate against anyone," Wallender said. "If you want to walk in our front door and you want to have our food or drinks, watch TV, watch live music we provide, we're going to serve you as best we can and make you happy to your standards."
Though Wallender said he had planned on reconvening with Spencer the next day to discuss the incident, the former waitress reportedly went on Facebook to voice her frustrations.
The next day, Spencer was fired after other employees took a screenshot of her post and shared it with the owners.
"If you feel this was wrong, leave a review on their business's Facebook page," she recalled telling her followers. "I was in awe by how many people were disgusted by this behavior and left comments to the point they deleted their Facebook page to keep the reviews from spreading."
Wallender said the page was briefly deleted because people from New York, Kentucky, Texas and California left negative reviews without ever visiting the restaurant. He said the conversation had also become too political.
"We are going to serve anyone in here as long as it's a safe environment," he said. "I've been in the service industry for a good 15 years and I've heard hundreds of conversations I didn't agree with but it's a matter of fact of brushing it off and having to tough it out through your task. She took her moral beliefs and hey, everyone has their moral beliefs. I'm not going to hold that against anyone else. She refused to do a duty we hired her for. That's the bottom line in a nutshell. If you're not going to do your duty, you don't have to work that night. We'll just send you home."
Spencer, who plans on filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, said what the ownership did was wrong.
"Ignoring hate and ignoring people talking like that is not being neutral," she told WGBA. "That's allowing hate to happen in your establishment and I didn't think that was appropriate so I left. Turning a blind eye to hate is just as bad as saying the hateful things in my opinion."