A well-known beer vendor at Toronto Blue Jays games has been tossed aside, stirring up controversy among fans who enjoyed his presence as part of the ballpark experience.
Wayne McMahon, 61, has sold beer in the stands at every baseball game at the Rogers Centre for the past six years. He is well known to regular attendees for his long, loud “ice…cold…beeeer!” sales pitch. He was employed by Aramark, the company responsible for all concessions at the stadium.
On July 8, McMahon sold two beers to a 22-year-old customer. Aramark’s policy is for vendors to ask for identification to anyone under 30 and limit customers in the stands to one beer at a time.
The customer was a “mystery shopper” planted in the crowd to evaluate the vendors. When the customer reported what happened to Aramark management, McMahon was immediately fired for violating company policy.
McMahon’s lawyer, Daniel Lublin, said McMahon believed the customer was buying a beer for his friend as well and such a quick dismissal was too harsh.
“A dismissal wasn’t a proportionate response,” Lublin told CTV.ca, noting McMahon had successfully passed previous tests with mystery shoppers and hadn’t had any previous problems.
A few days after the firing, fans formed an online support group and petition to pressure Aramark into reinstating McMahon, calling his firing unfair.
Public pressure may be the only way for McMahon to get his job back, even if he sues for wrongful dismissal and wins. A legal victory would give him damages but the court can’t order Aramark to reinstate him.
Aramark investigated the situation after seeing the support McMahon received, but upheld his firing. Lublin said his client would "consider his legal options with a view to a wrongful dismissal claim."
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