Teen forced to wear ‘Gaytard’ nametag

James Patrick Carraghan

James Patrick Carraghan is an award-winning activist, writer, librarian and student at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. He spends his free time gardening, hording books and flirting. You can follow him on tumblr at http://thelibrarynevercloses.tumblr.com/

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Tyler Brandt, a South Dakota teenager who worked at Taco John’s (an American chain restaurant specializing in Mexican-style fast-food), claims that he was forced to wear a name tag which gave his name as ‘Gaytard.’

On 23 June, the 16-year old claimed that he was forced to wear the name tag by his manager, who later claimed that it was ‘a joke’.

‘I felt that if I did do anything that would upset him,’ Brandt said, ‘it would cause me to lose my job because he’d be looking for ways to fire me.’

John Scott, a manager in the restaurant chain, claimed that Brandt chose to wear the offensive name tag.

‘Everyone has a nickname here,’ he claimed, ‘and he wanted a nickname. That’s what he picked for a nickname. He wasn’t forced to wear the name tag. He asked the manager to make that name tag for him. […] He said the manager forced him to do it. The manager didn’t force him to do anything.’

A few days later, Brendt went to the restaurant with his boyfriend and quit, keeping the name tag as evidence of discriminatory treatment.

Brendt and his father have said that they have considered suing the restaurant. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a discrimination suit against Taco John’s, claiming that the incident violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

A spokeswoman from Taco John’s has said the incident is under investigation. No action will be taken until the investigation is concluded.

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