A former KFC store manager in Oregon has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit in state Circuit Court in Multnomah County saying he was fired for refusing to cook and serve rotten chicken. The suit by James Macneal was filed this week and is partly based on an Oregon health and safety whistleblowing law.
Macneal alleges in a complaint against the local owners of a KFC outlet in Seaside, Oregon, that he and another employee were repeatedly told to use raw chicken that was past expiration. His refusal, resistance and threat to call the Oregon Health Department resulted in his firing last May, the lawsuit alleges.
The defendant in the case, Graja Inc., has not yet filed a response and the court has made no determinations. The suit seeks damages of more than $500,000.
According to the complaint, Macneal’s superiors first ordered a store employee to use raw chicken that was more than 12 days old in March 2010. “In plaintiff’s experience, chicken not served within 12 days of its kill date developed a noticeably foul, rotten smell. In addition, expired chicken changed color from white to light green and the blood on the chicken began to noticeably thicken and coagulate,” the complaint says.
Macneal intervened and later threw the expired meat into the trash, the lawsuit states.
About a year later, there was another order from superiors to use expired chicken, Macneal alleges. He says in the lawsuit he confronted his boss because he believed the practice violated health codes and could make people sick. A fellow worker is quoted in the complaint as a witness to the confrontation.
According to the lawsuit, Macneal was terminated from his job days later for “Arguing with leadership,” and “not creating an environment of team work with leadership and owner.” Earlier he had been told the store’s production numbers were low and that there was a complaint against him for bad scheduling of employees.
Macneal said his performance as a KFC store manager had won him raises and that he was on track to make $60,000 in the year he was fired.