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TRAIN IN VAIN

NYC Transit Worker Claims Boss Called Him “Cupcake,” Fired Him For Being Gay

New York City during the Pride parade can be a real shit storm. For MTA custodian Reginald Jenkins, it was a horror show.

Last June, as trains were shuttling passengers to and from the parade, Jenkins says his co-workers shouted “batty boy” and “kill them faggots dead.” Jenkins, who is openly gay, says he became physically ill and was taken the hospital the same day.

“It was extremely disconcerting to be surrounded by co-workers yelling about killing gay people,” he tells the Village Voice. “I am proud of who I am, but I know how hostile people can be.”

When he went to supervisors to complain, Jenkins says his superior told him to lighten up and called him “cupcake.” He was then told he could either have the incident investigated while he remained on the job—or accept a promotion out of the department. Jenkins declined both options and says he was then fired for unspecified reasons. He’s now suing the MTA for $1.5 million dollars.

The MTA vehemently denies the allegations, claiming Jenkins was canned for being a bad worker:

Jenkins wasn’t even an actual MTA employee when he was fired, he was a “probationary employee” working as a car cleaner — and according to [MTA spokesperson Marjorie] Anders, he wasn’t a very good one.

She says two performance evaluations—one in February of 2011 and one in March of 2011—showed him as doing poor work, not adhering to safety compliances, having a bad attitude, being slow, and failing to complete assignments—for example, he refused to clean up coffee, which, as a car “cleaner,” was one of his responsibilities.

“We don’t hire you and wait to see if you’ll be a bad employee,” Anders says, which is why the MTA has a “probationary employee” program—to see what type of worker a person will be before hiring them outright.

According to Anders, Jenkins went missing during his shift on Pride Sunday and never accounted for his whereabouts or presented proof that he was at the hospital.

What really happened that day? It’s hard to say if the truth will come out, even in court. But it does seem odd Jenkins turned down both the chance to have the incident investigated and an opportunity to get out of a hostile work environment. If he’s telling the truth, we’re not sure what he wanted to happen.

Photos: Rev Stan, Diego Torres Silvestre

 

By:           Dan Avery
On:           Apr 8, 2012
Tagged: , , , ,
  • 11 Comments
    • Ben
      Ben

      Fired for being gay or fired for not being a good employee? And whatever the case is, the boss should be disciplined – if not fired – for being homophobic, point blank period.

      Apr 8, 2012 at 9:34 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • QJ201
      QJ201

      Whether is story holds up or not remains to be seen. However, I have ridden the MTA during Pride…and yes many of the workers practically sneer in disgust at the revelry.

      Apr 8, 2012 at 9:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kev C
      Kev C

      If they offered him a promotion (as a sort of hush bribe), it contradicts any claims of him being a lousy worker who deserved to be fired. But he needs to prove he visited a hospital if he wants to be credible.

      Apr 8, 2012 at 10:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • desdemona
      desdemona

      funny how people want gay people to ‘lighten up’ when there are death threats being made against them; it’s like, really?! Some people just have no idea how bad hostility towards gay people is- and for no good reason. Not to sound like a pity party, but gay people definitely are the most blatantly discriminated against and disrespected of any group of people. it’s just sad. I don’t know what my rant really has to do with this kid being fired, but if he’s telling the truth, I hope karma bites ( & for all the people who shout batty boys and kill them faggots dead’- they’ll get what’s coming to them- hopefully an eternity in hell) Happy Easter Queerty! :)

      Apr 8, 2012 at 1:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dave
      Dave

      Another queen wanting to get rich because of pretend homophobia. He even pretended to be sick to get out of work.

      Apr 8, 2012 at 3:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Anthony
      Anthony

      If he was offered a promotion, how can they claim he wasn’t a very good worker? They’re kind of shooting themselves in the foot with that one.

      The story isn’t clear, so I can’t tell why he was fired, but 1.5m does seem like a little too much.

      Apr 8, 2012 at 3:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bipolar Bear
      Bipolar Bear

      Many people fail to stand up for their rights at the time an incident of workplace bullying occurs, because of intimidation or a lack of support around them. I have been in this situation before:

      http://bipolarbear.co.nz/2011/05/11/workplace-bullies/

      Apr 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Riker
      Riker

      @Anthony: We don’t know that he was offered a promotion. All we have is his word. In most organizations a probational employee isn’t considered eligible for promotion or transfer, so his word is suspect.

      Apr 8, 2012 at 5:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SFHarry
      SFHarry

      In the article it says he had a couple of options offered to him while they investigated the homophobia. I’m interested in knowing the outcome of the investigation.

      Apr 8, 2012 at 5:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • frank
      frank

      If his allegations are true, I hope he wins big just like the lesbian chef did recently. These a-holes need to be put in their place.

      Apr 8, 2012 at 7:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ABDUL
      ABDUL

      Cupcakes are IN by the way!!

      Apr 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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