McDonald’s has settled a complaint brought by the ACLU on behalf of five gay customers who were verbally abused by a restaurant staffer at a Louisville, Kentucky outlet.
Nine months after an employee at a McDonald’s restaurant in downtown Louisville called a group of gay customers a series of anti-gay slurs, the American Civil Liberties Union announced today that McDonald’s has agreed to a cash settlement and diversity training for management at 30 of its Louisville-area restaurants. Ryan Marlatt, Teddy Eggers, and three other friends had stopped for lunch at a McDonald’s restaurant on East Market Street on July 26, 2008 while visiting Louisville for the weekend. While they waited for their food to be prepared, an employee behind the counter referred to them as “faggots” to another employee. When Marlatt and Eggers objected to the slur and asked to speak with a manager, the employee who had called them “faggots” started arguing with them, repeatedly calling them “faggots” in front of other customers and calling one of them a “cocksucker” and “bitch.”
After the incident, the offended patrons tried repeatedly to reach McDonald’s corporate offices but were ignored, eventually resulting in the ACLU’s complaint with the Louisville Human Rights Commission. Although the customers had only requested the refund of their purchase, McDonald’s offered them each $2000, which they accepted. All that, plus lawyers’ fees, plus diversity training for 30 managers… and all it would have taken is an apology and one shit-canned employee. The customers tell their story in a video clip at the ACLU’s site.