• Wed. Oct 5th, 2022

The Chick-Fil-Franchise Sued By Ex-Worker Over Transgender Harassment

ByStephanie M. Akbar

Jul 13, 2022
  • A former Chick-fil-A employee is suing a franchise owner in Georgia, alleging a hostile work environment.
  • The lawsuit says the franchisee called the employee transgender after she reported sexual harassment.
  • The former employee says she was subjected to threats and other forms of discrimination before being unjustly dismissed.

It started on his first day at work.

Erin Taylor had just been hired in August of last year and was training to become an operations manager at a Chick-fil-A in Decatur, Georgia, when she said a co-worker of hers had done several obscene remarks, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Atlanta.

When Taylor approached franchise owner Joe Engert to report the sexual harassment, she revealed that she was transgender.

Engert, according to the complaint, told Taylor she should be honored as a trans woman that someone would be attracted to her. Engert later revealed Taylor’s gender identity to her co-workers, revealing it to the employee who made the comments in the first place.

“Erin began this job with the reasonable expectation that her colleagues and managers would accept her on their team and work together to successfully operate the restaurant,” Taylor’s attorneys, Ryan Morgan and Jeremy Stephens, said in a statement to Insider.

“Ms. Taylor alleges that instead of the ‘positive and productive workplace’ Chick-Fil-A says they aspire to, she has found a cesspool of hate and discrimination,” they added.

Chick-fil-A’s parent company is not named in the lawsuit, and a spokesperson declined to comment, directing Insider to a lawyer for Engert. Engert’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit also describes how Taylor was subjected to threats of violence and other discrimination in the workplace, including having her planned training diverted from her original goal of becoming an operations manager. On November 1, she was fired.

Chick-fil-A has had a checkered history with the LGBTQ community due to founder Truett Cathy’s support of conservative Christian charities and opposition to same-sex marriage.

Current CEO Dan Cathy, Truett’s son, has overseen a shift in the company’s philanthropy away from hot-button issues, though he personally contributes to them.

Decatur, which is adjacent to Atlanta, has long been a politically progressive city and is home to a large population of LGBTQ people. The town named Engert one of the 10″Hometown Heroin 2020 for donating chicken sandwiches to different community events.

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