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Posted at 07:23 PM ET, 06/16/2011

Safeway cashier fired after men insulted at Southwest store

An employee at a Southwest D.C. Safeway has been fired after a Saturday incident in which a cashier used a homosexual slur, a Safeway spokesman said Thursday.

The cashier, who worked at the Safeway at 1100 4th Street SW, used a slur when referring to a gay couple in the store, Safeway spokesman Craig Muckle said Thursday. The couple has filed a complaint with the D.C. Office of Human Rights, reported Metro Weekly.

On Thursday, Muckle said Safeway’s human resources department had conducted an investigation, which resulted in the cashier’s termination.

“We are truly sorry this happened in our store and are taking decisive and urgent action to ensure it does not happen again to any customer in any of the communities we serve,” said Safeway Eastern Division President Steven Neibergall in a statement. “No one should face what these customers faced, and we are humbly sorry it happened to them in our store.”

Muckle said the company tried to reach out to the couple, but he did not know whether the attempt was successful.

He added that there is a diversity training program in place that all employees must attend. For now, he said, it will remain as is.

The cashier had been on the job less than a month, according to Neibergall’s statement.

“There are people at all levels of the organization on this,” Muckle said. “We’re trying to deal with the immediate fallout, then we’re going to look at [current policies], and we’ll determine whether changes need to be made.”

After reading initial reports Wednesday, D.C. Councilman Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) went on the social media web site Twitter to complain. “Unbelievable and absolutely unacceptable,” Wells wrote.

By  |  07:23 PM ET, 06/16/2011

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