Waitress fired after refusing to serve Wis. patrons who disparaged trans woman

MILWAUKEE (WTMJ/CNN) - A waitress in Wisconsin went home rather than serve customers who, she says, referred to transgender identity as “disgusting and wrong.” She spoke out about the incident on Facebook and was fired the next day.

Brittany Spencer was a server at Fat Joe’s Bar & Grill when she says an elderly couple disparaged a regular customer, who is transgender. She walked away from the table. (Source: WTMJ/CNN)

Brittany Spencer was at work as a server Saturday night at Fat Joe’s Bar & Grill in Fond du Lac, Wis., when a regular customer, who is a transgender woman, came in.

She says an elderly couple nearby started making disparaging comments about gender identity.

“They were asking if I thought it was disgusting and wrong and why we would let someone like that into the establishment. I answered, ‘No, I do not agree with that’ and walked away,” Spencer said.

Spencer asked her manager if someone else could serve the table because she didn’t feel comfortable.

“She essentially told me to suck it up or go home. I said, ‘Ok, then, I will leave,’” Spencer said.

Tad Wallender, a co-owner of Fat Joe’s, says Spencer was sent home because she refused to serve the table. He says they planned on having a conversation with her the next day.

However, Spencer posted about the incident on Facebook. The following day, she was told she was being fired.

Wallender says they are there to serve customers, regardless of what people talk about.

“I've heard hundreds of conversations I didn't agree with, but it's a matter of brushing it off and toughing it out through your task,” he said. “She refused to do a duty we hired her for. That's the bottom line in a nutshell.”

Spencer says she will file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“If anybody sees hate or hears things like this, they should say something. In my opinion, ignoring it is no better than saying it yourself,” she said.

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