Special Needs Dad Allegedly Fired for Objecting to the 'R' Word at Chili's


Last week, Bruce Casper was fired from his job at a Chili’s restaurant in the Pittsburgh Mills Mall in Tarentum, Pennsylvania, CBS News reported. His girlfriend, Crista Miller, says it was because he complained to management about employees using the word “retarded.”

The couple has three children together and their youngest, a 16-month-old toddler named Kyron, has Down syndrome.

After Casper complained about the repeated use of the word, he was allegedly told to leave if it bothered him. When he returned for his next shift, he found that it’d been covered.

Miller turned to social media to express her outrage over the events, posting the following to Facebook:

Please share: Chili’s in the Pittsburgh Mills thinks it’s OK to use the word ‘retarded’ and call people ‘retards’ (management and employees). Bruce has brought the use of this word up time and time again even requesting a meeting regarding it, and nothing was done. Yesterday, he was called a retard again in front of management and when he made it clear to everyone near that our son has Down syndrome and he will not tolerate that word, management said, ‘You can leave then.’ So he did. He went in today to work his shift and they had his shift covered. In two years he has called off maybe three times due to a surgery he had and two that our son had. He’s never late and he goes in when others call off or when it’s asked of him. Apparently hate speech is allowed and even defended there… I would not call that place ‘family friendly.’ This is disrespectful to not only my family but everyone who knows someone with Down syndrome or has Down syndrome themselves!

Casper, who has been advised by a lawyer not to talk about the firing, was offered another job at a different Chili’s location but declined, as he no longer feels comfortable working for the restaurant chain.

One of the managers has used the word ‘retarded’ just in conversation, which is completely inappropriate,” Miller told CBS News. “Not only for Kyron but for all kids with special needs, whether it’s Down syndrome or something else. There’s a right and there’s a wrong, and this is wrong.”

Get the full story in the video below: 

RELATED: A Letter to Chili’s From the Mother of a Child With Down Syndrome

A spokesperson for Chili’s Restaurants said in a prepared statement that these allegations are being taken seriously, and they are currently investigating the incident, according to the CBS News.

The Mighty is asking the following: Describe a moment you were met with extreme negativity or adversity related to your disability and/or disease (or a loved one’s) and why you were proud of your response — or how you wish you could’ve responded. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.