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Dad Allegedly Fired for Complaining About Use of "R" Word

The Short of It

The dad of a special needs toddler was allegedly fired after complaining to management about employees using the word "retarded" at the Chili's restaurant where he worked.

The Lowdown

Bruce Casper repeatedly complained to his managers at a Chili's in the Pittsburgh Mills Mall in Tarentum, Penn., about the use of the "r" word at the restaurant. He and his girlfriend, Crista Miller, have three children together; their youngest, a 16-month-old toddler named Kyron, has Down syndrome.

After his most recent complaint last week, allegedly he was told he should leave if it bothered him. When he came in for his next shift, he found that it'd been covered.

Miller expressed her outrage in a Facebook post, saying in part: "Bruce has brought the use of this word up time and time again even requesting a meeting regarding it, and nothing was done. Yesterday, he was called a retard again in front of management and when he made it clear to everyone near that our son has Down syndrome and he will not tolerate that word, management said, 'You can leave then.' ... This is disrespectful to not only my family but everyone who knows someone with Down syndrome or has Down syndrome themselves!"

Casper was offered a job at a different Chili's location but declined because he no longer feels comfortable working for the chain. He has been advised by a lawyer not to talk about the firing.

The Upshot

Whether used to be purposely cruel to people with disabilities or as a casual insult without true malice behind it, the "r" word just needs to be eliminated from our vocabulary. Though it has regrettably become part of the popular culture vernacular, I say, let's all do our part to remind those who use it that it's an offensive and ugly word.

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