A woman in Kalamazoo, Michigan claims that she has been fired for showing up to work at the restaurant, Harvey’s on the Mall, in dressed as a man. The restaurant, however, claims that her termination had nothing to do with her gender-bending outfit, but rather with her failure to comply with the restaurant’s dress code.
Myah VanTil dressed in drag (image above) for LGBT Pride last Saturday and says that she spent two hours drawing a 5 o’clock shadow on her face and then 45 more minutes binding her chest. She then showed up to work dressed like this, in solidarity with the LGBT community.
According to Equality MI, Kalamazzo law does support VanTil in her freedom to express both her gender identity and/or sexual orientation at work. But Harvey’s argues that she was fired for insubordination because she specifically asked them if she could dress in drag and was told “no.”
Curt Benson, a professor at Cooley Law School, told Wood TV:
“She specifically asked them, ‘Could I wear this makeup?’ And they said no. She went ahead and did it anyway. You can fire somebody for misconduct. This is a form of misconduct, and the fact that she may or may not be a lesbian is quite irrelevant to the question.”
Although terms of Myah VanTil’s dismissal are still unclear, she is now in talks with the restaurant to negotiate a dress code that specifically addresses employees that want to dress in drag at work. It’s unclear why this is needed if Kalamazoo employees are protected by law in expressing their gender identity. Regardless of that point, VanTil still hopes to get her job back after negotiations are over.