Dylan Paul (pictured above), a 24 year old transgender woman and erstwhile employee of Pagliacci’s Pizza, says Pagliacci’s management threw her under the bus after she complained about a customer who mis-gendered her. The store’s owner, Matt Galvin, has responded by saying he’s “pain[ed]” by her situation and wants to do better in the future.
In a statement that’s been getting passed around on local blogs, Paul describes how, after asking for an apology from a customer who referred to her as a man, the customer replied:
"I don't really care what's happening in your life, man, I just need my pizza."
“Frankly, shame on me for not doing a better job of training our employees.”—Pagliacci owner, Matt Galvin
(In the grand scheme of the customer service grind, this might seem like no big deal. But according to Laverne Cox, trans spokeswoman and star of Orange is the New Black, it’s “an act of violence.”)
Paul says that after her managers downplayed the incident, she submitted her two-weeks notice of resignation. When managers later heard her deriding the incident to coworkers, she says, they gave her the boot. “That was the reason they gave for firing me,” she told PubliCola, “was talking with my coworkers about it.”
“The people that I worked with for a year basically told me that I was worth less than a slice of pizza.”—former Pagliacci's employee, Dylan Paul
Pagliacci’s owner, Matt Galvin, tells us that he’s tried to contact Paul to apologize for what happened and to ask if she wants her job back. “Frankly, shame on me for not doing a better job of training our employees,” he told PubliCola. “It sickens me that there’s an employee who doesn’t feel like Pagliacci’s supported them.” Galvin says it’s both company policy and “basic human decency” to back up employees when customers refer to them by the wrong gender. He plans to close the Broadway location early next week for a Trans 101 training for employees.
For Paul, Galvin’s contrition is too little, too late. “It’s well and good that they’re attempting sensitivity training,” she said, “but you don’t get to push me out of my job for being trans and then just walk away from that.
“The people that I worked with for a year basically told me that I was worth less than a slice of pizza.”
Update: Paul and Galvin tell us that they've reconciled. After what Galvin called "a very productive conversation," Paul says she feels that Galvin heard and is responding to her core concerns. "I really appreciate that he was genuine in his concerns...[and that] he really listened," Paul told PubliCola this morning.
"It's definitely gonna work out," she added. "Things are gonna get better after this."
Paul directed us to Elayne Wylie of the Gender Justice League, who says that she'll be conducting Trans 101 trainings for Pagliacci's management. Wylie praised Galvin for seeking out the advice of trans activists in the wake of Paul's complaint, listening to Paul's grievance, and instituting the training. "[What matters] is not that [Pagliacci's] made the mistake, but how they address the mistake once it's brought to their attention," she said.