A manager at a home improvement supply store in Colorado has reportedly been sacked after firing off a homophobic insult at a gay customer.
James Shawlin visited Floor and Decor in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, on Friday, in search of materials he and his husband had planned to use to complete a fireplace in their home, local NBC affiliate 9 News reports. Shawlin, who was with his 4-year-old son, Oliver, at the time, said an angry manager confronted him after an employee had given him permission to search through some boxes to ensure that the stone slabs he’d planned to purchase didn’t have any defects.
“You could tell he was not in a good mood,” the 44-year-old told the news station. “I was a little firm with him, and I just told him, ‘Hey, you know, my husband and I spend a lot of money here. We’ve been using you guys for 10 years.’”
Shawlin said that wasn’t enough for the manager, who responded, “Oh, that explains it now. The faggot that voted for Hillary [Clinton].” Another customer joined in the transgression after overhearing the exchange, proclaiming, “What are these faggots going to do to this child?” as Shawlin fled the store.
Shawlin, who left the store in tears after the alleged incident, posted his take on the events on Floor and Decor’s official Facebook page.
On Sunday post, a company representative wrote on Floor and Decor’s Facebook page that the manager, who was not named, had been fired from the Highlands Ranch store in the wake of the incident.
Alexander Gervin, who is Floor and Decor’s Corporate Escalations Manager, confirmed that that employee had been terminated in an email sent to The Huffington Post on Monday.
“The individual at issue is no longer employed by Floor and Decor,” Gervin wrote. “We are an inclusive and diverse company and are committed to treating all customers with courtesy and respect at all times.”
In a second email, another spokesperson told HuffPost:
On Nov. 25, 2016, we became aware of an unfortunate incident in one of our stores involving two customers and one of our associates. We conducted an internal investigation to determine the facts and took prompt action.
We spoke with the customer the next day and apologized for his experience in our store. We further apologize to his family and the community for what took place. Our ethics code and our employee training make clear we do not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment based on, but not limited to race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, disability or genetic information. The associate at issue no longer works for us, and we look forward to improving our sensitivity training for all of our employees and providing the highest level of customer service to all members of the communities that we serve.
Shawlin insisted to 9 News he didn’t want the case to become a political gesture, noting, “I just want to make people aware of what’s going in our community. Hopefully when [my son] is older, he can see that Dad stood up.”
UPDATE: After this story was published, Shawlin released the below statement to The Huffington Post and on his Facebook page.
As some of you have heard, I experienced an unfortunate event on Nov. 25. Since then, I have been in contact with management of Floor and Decor and their response has been fantastic. They are obviously a company that values diversity and inclusion and puts those values into practice. I have come to understand that this unfortunate, and unusual, incident with one of F&D’s employees is not at all reflective of the company as a whole. Nor are the additional offensive comments made by a fellow customer reflective of the company’s values. I want to thank you all for your support and thank Floor and Decor for their prompt and appropriate response to this situation.