The manager at the Teahouse in Stanley Park has been fired after refusing to serve a customer who was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, the red caps used by Donald Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign.
Earlier in the week, a young man wearing the cap entered the Vancouver, Canada restaurant and the manager asked him to remove his cap or otherwise he would not be served.
Former manager Darin Hodge cited his “strong moral backbone” when he refused to serve the patron.
“As a person with a strong moral backbone, I had to take a stand against this guest’s choice of headwear while in my former place of work. Absolutely no regrets,” Hodge said, as Fox News reports.
The man refused to take off his cap and was told to leave the restaurant, Eva Gates, of the Sequoia Group which owns the Stanley Park Tea House, recounts.
“A gentleman came in wearing a hat that was a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat, and our manager went up to the gentleman and asked him to take off his hat, that he wouldn’t serve him with that hat on,” Gates said.
“And the gentleman said that he had a right to wear that hat. And [the manager] refused to serve him if he wouldn’t take off his hat, and so the customer had to leave,” she added.
According to the report, the company fired Hodge for “violating the company’s philosophy of tolerance,” though they commended him for being a “good person with a big heart and a right to his personal beliefs.”
Here’s more, from CBC:
The human rights codes of B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario do not prohibit an individual from denying service to someone based on their political beliefs, according to Gregory Ko, a Toronto-based civil litigator who specializes in employment law, who spoke to CBC News following the incident in Virginia.
The restaurant stands by its decision.
“[Hodge] was aware what he was doing was probably contrary to our values and our philosophy as a company in terms of hospitality and inclusiveness,” said Crimp.
“We don’t discriminate against people based on political beliefs.”
As CBC reports, Republican strategist Brendan Steinhauser cautions that it is a “really bad idea” to merge politics with “everything that we do.”
Steinhauser said the company could have focused on retraining Hodge, rather than fire him, as to help the person avoid a similar situation in the future.
“Even if you have zero tolerance, it might be that he’s sent home for two weeks without pay or something like that,” he told CBC News.
“When we fire people like this… it could be a teachable moment, but instead it’s just going to perpetuate this and cause more problems.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was similarly refused service by a restaurant in Lexington, Virginia because of her affiliation with Trump.