A Mississippi woman is claiming she was refused a job she was promised at a KFC franchise because she’s homeless.
Eunice Jasica was hired by a Tupelo, Mississippi, KFC to do “prep work,” according to a document signed by the location’s general manager she reportedly showed to the Clarion-Ledger. But when she came up to pick up her uniform, Jasica says she was told she didn’t have a job.
The franchise owner, Chelsey Ruff, signed a letter saying he couldn’t hire her “due to concerns of lack of residence and transportation,” according to the Clarion-Ledger. He later told the paper that he actually couldn’t give Jasica a job because of her lack of food prep experience and because the 59-year-old appeared too old to lift boxes.
Ruff also told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal around the same time that Jasica was never formally hired in the first place and the “mix-up probably came when she thought she was hired in the store.” He says he’s hired residents of the Salvation Army, where Jasica lives, in the past.
Ruff declined to comment to The Huffington Post, referring the inquiry to KFC’s corporate media relations. Rick Maynard, a KFC spokesperson, wrote in an email statement to HuffPost that the “KFC Corporation believes in a culture of respect toward all people, and we abide by all applicable employment laws.”
“The restaurant in Tupelo is operated by an independent franchisee who shares our beliefs, but is responsible for making hiring decisions for the restaurant he owns,” he wrote.
Luckily, Jasica has already found another gig. On Time Transportation, a shuttle service that takes Medicare and Medicaid patients to doctors appointments, tentatively hired Jasica as a driver, according to a separate Clarion-Ledger report. The offer was one of at least five that poured in after word of Jasica’s situation spread.
Though Jasica scored another gig, her story illustrates the struggles of homeless job-seekers. Many face discrimination from potential employers who view homeless people as being too disabled, lazy or irresponsible to hold down a job, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
America’s homeless population decreased 1 percent between 2009 and 2011, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. However, the drop is largely attributed to government efforts to prevent homeless and rehouse people.