STANLY, NC (WBTV) – It’s a story that has exploded on social media.
A woman in Gaston County says her brother with special needs was laid off from his job at Wendy’s.
She tells WBTV that her brother has been working at the Stanley restaurant for over 20 years. She claims the manager fired him because he needed someone who could do more jobs in the store that her brother couldn’t.
“I work there a long time,” said Dennis Peek, the person fired.
Dennis said he always wanted to work at Wendy’s for the food.
“Lots of food to eat. It’s something good. I love Baconator,” she said. “I love my job at Wendy’s.”
And for the past 20 years, he’s loved every minute of his job at the burger joint.
Cona Turner, Dennis’s sister, said a Wendy’s manager fired her brother, just before a caretaker dropped him off.
Turner said the manager broke the news to him over the phone.
He said that Dennis wanted to retire from Wendy’s after working there for so long, something he was looking forward to.
Dennis lives with Down syndrome, and because of that, Turner said he couldn’t do that specific extra work. When Turner asked for Dennis’s termination papers, he said the manager never gave them to him.
Turner said it’s easy to see how much this job means to his brother.
“He’s always excited to go to work,” she said. “He loves seeing people come in and talk to him. He loves interacting with people.”
That’s why he said it was so devastating to him that he was fired.
“He doesn’t understand if someone comes against him,” Dennis’s sister said. “He does not understand that he is not treated fairly. He doesn’t understand any of it. He doesn’t… it just breaks my heart.”
Turner took to Facebook and posted about her brother’s experience, prompting thousands of likes, comments and shares, all expressing sympathy for Dennis.
“All the comments and support for my brother… melted my heart,” he said.
Now the Wendy’s company is involved. She said the post reached the company.
On Thursday, Turner said he received a call from the company. He was told that the company did not know that his brother had been fired and that Dennis would be back on the show next week.
“For me, that was bringing Dennis back to normal,” he said. “Now is it fair? No, it’s not fair at all. Should there be consequences? Absolutely. You can’t treat someone like that.”
WBTV has contacted corporate offices about the firing. We received a statement about the situation and the manager who fired Dennis that says:
“We are committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for our employees and our customers. This was an unfortunate mistake and a lapse in protocol; We are in contact with the employee’s family and look forward to welcoming them back to work at the restaurant. We cannot comment further on personnel matters, but we are taking appropriate action. This was an unfortunate mistake that we are working on with the team member, his job coach and his family. We are also using this as an opportunity to retrain all of our teams on our protocols.”
Turner said he’s still deciding whether to let Dennis go back to his job or go ahead and throw the retirement party he’s been looking forward to a little earlier.
“I have a retirement party. I like that,” Dennis said.
“I will not let anyone mistreat my brother,” his sister said.
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