Former Chick-fil-A manager, Jeffrey Slaughter, was accused of conducting inappropriate relations with a minor who worked under his supervision. Both employees were based at the Chick-fil-A on South Milton Road, located off campus.
Various reports stated that Slaughter developed a relationship both inside and outside the workplace. For example, all Chick-fil-A locations are closed on Sunday, which allowed Slaughter to establish communication separate from employment – specifically at church. Additionally, past Chick-fil-A team members said Slaughter made them uncomfortable and upset at work.
Larissa Stack, a 27-year-old senior majoring in elementary education, worked at Chick-fil-A for approximately five months in 2018. Stack was hired shortly before Slaughter, and she worked in close proximity to him for a brief, but impactful, period.
Stack stated in an email interview that immediately after his hiring, Slaughter made her uneasy. Over the following weeks, her sense of discomfort only increased, particularly as Slaughter instigated various interactions – verbally and physically.
“After a couple weeks, he put his hand on my shoulder while talking to me," Stack's email elaborated. "I felt a knot in my stomach and removed his hand quickly. I told him to never touch me again. He did not.”
Stack was explicit and vocal toward Slaughter, which likely reinforced their relationship as strictly professional. However, Stack added that Slaughter was openly flirtatious and inappropriate with other employees.
Slaughter regularly attempted to convene with female coworkers by offering them rides home, inviting them out to dinner or asking them to hang out, Stack's stated. This approach made numerous employees uneasy, which created a problem in the work environment.
“I did overhear him giving compliments to girls in the kitchen, all the time, that did not seem appropriate for a work setting,” Stack reported. “They were all saying how uncomfortable his presence made them. A few talked about how they received text messages in the middle of the night from him. Some girls were asked out to dinner and said no. He would try to guilt them into it.”
Chick-fil-A’s managerial positions are mostly filled by male employees, according to Stack's email. This imbalance made it difficult for apprehensive women, including Stack, to discuss Slaughter’s concerning behavior with supervisors.
Eventually, Stack decided to talk to Chick-fil-A’s scheduling manager, a woman whose name is unidentified, about Slaughter’s misconduct in the workplace.
“I talked to the scheduling manager. She was the only girl in a management position,” Stack stated. “A few other girls had a similar conversation with her. It got brought to the attention of the owner, [Nathan Vickeroy]...He assured us that it would never happen again and that [management] talked to [Slaughter]. Nothing really seemed to change."
Employees around Chick-fil-A discussed Slaughter’s inappropriate conduct, Stack explained. Her coworkers continued to talk about their frustration regarding the situation, specifically referencing a lack of consideration and safety. Stack said that the seriousness of this scenario was not handled appropriately, which forced her, and others, to quit.
Stack added that management never made her feel protected at work. This complacency and ambivalence, particularly regarding Slaughter’s position, were deciding factors in her short tenure.
“I left months earlier than planned due to the management,” Stack stated. “It was not just Slaughter, but it was the management that allowed Slaughter to continually make girls feel unsafe in the workplace. I have never felt less respected by my bosses in my life.”
Furthermore, Stack said she constructed her resignation letter to reprimand Chick-fil-A for its unsafe work environment. She explained how Slaughter’s inappropriate behavior was largely ignored, and how this attitude is unacceptable for employers to tolerate.
“When I quit, I wrote my resignation letter all about Slaughter and how he made us feel,” Stack recounted. “I talked about how I think the company didn’t handle the situation and that I could not work for an organization that dealt with sexual harassment the way Chick-fil-A did.”
Multiple managers at Chick-fil-A were contacted, but none were available for comment.