Teenager fired from his job for wearing Broncos jersey to work
Nathaniel Wentz is a 17-year-old Denver Broncos fan who lives in Washington. With Peyton Manning and company set to take on the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII, Wentz has been put in an awkward spot. He probably didn’t think it would cost him his job.
Wentz used to be the manager at Odyssey 1 family entertainment center in Tacoma. On Sunday, employees were supposedly told that they were welcome to wear football jerseys to work to show off their team spirit on the day of the NFC and AFC Championship games. When Wentz showed up wearing a Broncos jersey, he was sent home.
“I thought, wow. Really?” Nathaniel’s father Randall told King 5 News.
Randall said he called and asked to speak to the store’s owner but never received a call back. The next day, Nathaniel was informed that he had been fired. Apparently the store owner only meant that his employees could wear Seahawks jerseys to work, though Nathaniel said he did not specify.
“It was all about you can’t,” Nathaniel said his boss told him when he fired him. “You can’t represent your team. There’s something wrong with that.”
[Related: High school student sent home for wearing Colts jersey]
Nathaniel said he was told he was fired for not returning to work on Sunday when he had been sent home, presumably to change his jersey. While it sounds absurd to fire a 17-year-old for something like that, Patrick Leo McGuigan of HKM Employment Attorneys told King 5 news that an employer in Washington has the right to fire an employee for something that he or she wears.
“It’s a petty move on the part of the employer,” McGuigan said. “An employer has a common law right to terminate for no cause, good cause or a cause that’s morally wrong, as the courts like to point out.”
In other words, there’s probably nothing Nathaniel can do. He can, however, watch his Broncos in the Super Bowl without having to worry about working.
“I was worried about that,” Nathaniel said. “I’m not going to lie.”
His boss probably did him a favor.