Floor and Decor says it no longer employs associate accused of using anti-gay slur

James Shawlin's account of verbal abuse at a Floor and Decor store in Highlands Ranch. (James Shawlin/Facebook)

James Shawlin of Denver said on Friday that he had been “verbally assaulted” by a store employee at the Highlands Ranch branch of Floor and Decor, the flooring store.

The company says that the employee in question “is no longer employed” by the Atlanta-based company, and Shawlin says he’s satisfied with the company’s response.

Update: Further comments from Floor and Decor and Shawlin are at the end of this story.

Shawlin posted that the employee, who hasn’t been named, referred to him as “a faggot” who “voted for Hillary” and that a customer joined in the ridicule.

In an interview with 9News, Shawlin said that he had been having trouble with some defective products. The slur came after Shawlin told an employee that he and his husband were frequent customers, as 9News reported.

“And [the employee] goes, ‘Oh, that explains it now. The faggot that voted for Hillary,’” Shawlin told 9News. A nearby customer also made derogatory anti-gay comments, as Shawlin told the news station.

We’ve reached out for comment from Floor and Decor. Here’s their statement:

“On November 25, 2016, we became aware of an unfortunate incident in one of our stores involving two customers and one of our associates.  We conducted an internal investigation to determine the facts and took prompt action,” according to a statement from the company provided by Bob Rawitch, a communications specialist.

“We spoke with the customer the next day and apologized for his experience in our store.  We further apologize to his family and the community for what took place.”

The statement goes on to say that the store’s ethics code and training do not allow for any form of discrimination or harassment, and that the company looks “forward to improving our sensitivity training for all of our employees and providing the highest level of customer service to all members of the communities that we serve.”

The company hasn’t released the employee’s name or further details of its investigation.

Shawlin says he’s happy with the company’s response.

“I have been in contact with management of Floor and Decor and their response has been fantastic,” he wrote on Facebook.

“They are obviously a company that values diversity and inclusion and puts those values into practice. I have come to understand that this unfortunate, and unusual, incident with one of F&D’s employees is not at all reflective of the company as a whole. Nor are the additional offensive comments made by a fellow customer reflective of the company’s values. I want to thank you all for your support and thank Floor and Decor for their prompt and appropriate response to this situation.”

Andrew Kenney

Author: Andrew Kenney

Andrew Kenney writes about public spaces, Denver phenomena and whatever else. He previously worked for six years as a reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. His most prized possession is his collection of bizarre voicemail. Leave him one at 303-502-2803, or email akenney@denverite.com.