The former manager of a 7-Eleven in Eugene, Ore. is suing the franchise owner and the corporation because he alleges he was terminated for hiring a black person and a transgender woman.
Brennen Jensen was working at the store for four years when he received his walking papers, and he believes the firing was the result of his controversial hires, which were made against the owner’s wishes, according to The Register-Guard. He filed a lawsuit at Lane County Circuit Court against 7-Eleven and franchise owner Don Scarpelli, and he’s seeking $175,000 in damages.
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The situation started in June 2017, when a black employee at the store quit, and Scarpelli allegedly confronted Jensen to warn him not to hire another black person. Scarpelli told him “every black person” who had worked at the store had taken advantage of him and “really burned him,” according to the lawsuit. Jensen hired a black woman anyway, and Scarpelli allegedly became upset asked him, “What were you thinking?”
Jensen hired a trans woman a few months later, and when Scarpelli found out, he reportedly ordered Jensen to make sure the woman didn’t wear “female clothing” or makeup to work. But when the she showed up one day in lipstick and pink boots, she was given a “first and last warning” by Scarpelli, who allegedly instructed her to steer clear of dressing “effeminate,” otherwise she’d be fired.
Jensen stepped in to defend the woman, and told Scarpelli that the warning was a violation of the employee’s civil rights. According to the lawsuit, Scarpelli then became “cold and hostile” to Jensen and fired him the following month, in December 2017. Jensen claims the termination was retaliation for not respecting the owner’s authority.
Yahoo Lifestyle has reached out to Jensen and to Northwest Workers Justice Project (NWJP), the Portland nonprofit representing him, for comment on the case. The mission of NWJP is to “support the efforts of low-wage, immigrant and contingent workers to protect their workplace dignity and to improve wages and working conditions,” according to its website.
Yahoo Lifestyle has also reached out to 7-Eleven for comment. A jury trial has been requested for the case, and no date has been set.
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