Four LGBTQ staff members of an Indianapolis location of Scottish brewpub BrewDog say they were fired due to their sexual and gender identities.
The company had already recently fired its head chef and general manager, both women, and replaced them with two men. The new management then terminated the four LGBTQ staff members in March, telling them they were seeking “a change in culture.”
“It’s very strange that we seem to be singled out as a certain type of community that was fired,” former employee Kyrrha Myers told WISH TV.
Indy ppl please share this on sm, I barely have any followers on insta or fb but today my restaurant fired their woman and non-binary (me) staff, including two trans people. they recently replaced our woman gm and head chef with men and called all of this “a change in culture” pic.twitter.com/TsolxYKM4W
— jorde (@himbocity) March 9, 2021
A statement from BrewDog disputed the discrimination claims, saying “We do not believe that gender nor sexual orientation influenced those decisions and any such claims that they did will be fully investigated.”
In a joint statement on Twitter, the four fired staffers, two of whom are transgender and one who is nonbinary, denied that the terminations occurred based on performance.
“None of us were ever written up, given a documented verbal warning, or had any issues at all with our performance during our many months working at BrewDog before and during a very stressful pandemic,” they said.
They went to say that one of the former employees even won a customer review competition by getting the most five-star reviews. Another of the four came in second place.
After BrewDog fired 4 LGBT staff members, 2 of us transgender in the span of an hour, they told us this was due to the bar needing a “culture change.” Now their story keeps changing. This is a multi million dollar corporation abusing at-will employment laws to fire LGBT people. pic.twitter.com/5XfZ4Xbn0z
— jorde (@himbocity) March 11, 2021
This is not the first time BrewDog has been under fire for offending LGBTQ people.
In November 2015, a London location launched a beer called “No Label,” which a press release described as “The world’s first ‘non-binary, transgender beer,’ brewed using hops that have changed sex,” and that “have undergone a hermaphroditic gender change.”
The beer was intended to support the LGBTQ community and “as a statement against taboos and received norms of any kind,” according to the press release, but many criticized the campaign for missing the mark.
That same year, the company’s co-founders, James Watt and Martin Dickie, dressed up as transgender sex workers in a fundraising video to show what they were willing to do to raise money for the company.
The employees who were fired in Indianapolis are pursuing legal action.
“The most important thing to me [in pursuing the lawsuits] is that pressure is put on this company to reflect on how they conduct business, and to be pressured to decide if they want to change, because they are not doing it ethically,” Leah Foster, one of the fired employees, told Vine Pair. “Making them uncomfortable, and hopefully bringing them to a round table where they question what they’re doing? I don’t have to make any money for that to be worth it.”
brewdog lost the chance to talk about their values when they didn’t have a single non-man from our bar at HQ to talk about reopening. I want everyone to know sexism is not the only issue here, either. 2/4 ppl fired were transgender. all 4 were LGBT. https://t.co/f1ZfY3CpXp
— jorde (@himbocity) March 9, 2021