An employee at Wendy’s in New Glasgow feels unsafe in his workplace after information regarding his birth sex and name was shared with staff.
“It violates my privacy completely being outed at work,” said Grayson Mingo. Mingo, who uses he/him pronouns, said that the documents which he disclosed this information on are confidential, but that nearly a month after he started working at the Wendy’s, he noticed that his colleagues were speaking to him differently.
“Like if I was going to pick something up they’d say, ‘you need to go pick that up because you’re biologically stronger than me.’”
It wasn’t yet clear to him that his information had been shared, as comments like these are nothing new to him.
“I’m used to it because this happens in my day to day life when people figure out I’m transgender, their attitude can shift.”
Mingo believed that the people commenting like this had somehow determined that he was transgender on their own, and he let it slide.
But nearly one week ago, a supervisor at Wendy’s named Brandi Medley told Mingo that the entire staff knew.
“She told me that people had been calling me an ‘it’, and were saying that I was a girl and that they couldn’t understand why anyone would do that to themselves.”
According to both Mingo and Medley, Mingo's personal information, which he believed was disclosed in confidence after being hired, was deliberately shared among staff by management.
“That ultimately was what outed me,” said Mingo, who describes his experience as a safety violation. “There’s a lot of things that can happen by being outed. You’re at risk for violence, hate, discrimination.”
Upon learning that this information was being shared, Medley brought it to the attention of management. After that, Medley alleges that her concerns were not taken seriously.
“She basically said, ‘it’s a small town and we don’t have trans people here so we don’t see it’,” said Medley of the restaurant’s general manager. Not long ago, Medley said that issue was raised again with the same manager by another staff member who, Medley says, was rebuked.
“They got in trouble for bringing it their attention, saying that it’s gossip and not bullying. How is it not bullying?”
Both Mingo and Medley, who has recently left her position at Wendy’s, say that they want to highlight the incident so that it won’t continue to happen.
“We sign documents when we start there that say discrimination will not be allowed in the workplace,” said Mingo. “They can say that all they want, but if they’re not implementing it, then it doesn’t matter.”
Wendy’s Director of Operations, Terry Curly, told The News that the matter is being investigated.
“Upon learning of this situation, we immediately launched an investigation and will take appropriate action. We are also taking this opportunity to review our workplace harassment policy with all team members."
Medley, who says she raised the issue with the restaurant’s general manager back in June, says she wants to hear from the owner of the restaurant, Jim Shaw, directly.
“I’m still waiting to hear back from Jim Shaw himself. What is he going to do about it? What are your further steps? What will be done? These people need to be held accountable.”
As for Mingo, he says he is uncertain whether he will return to work.
“I haven’t decided. I do need money and that’s kind of what keeps people there that have been harassed or bullied. They need the job so they stay.”