The popular American fast food restaurant chain Chick-Fil-A caused controversy in June 2012, when chief operating officer Dan Cathy made comments opposing same sex marriage. This was later followed by reports that the company was making donations to anti-gay charities, such as Exodus International and the Family Research Council.
Corporations often choose to donate to charities based on how the charities’ values mirror the company’s key messages. Chick-Fil-A has stated on their website: “The Chick-Fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”
It is highly unethical for a company to outline in their key messages that they believe that all individuals are allowed to have the right to their own sexual orientation, whilst giving monetary donations to anti-gay organizations, whose main purposes are to ignore the choices or rights of their customers and employees.
Other articles have highlighted that the company been giving money to anti-gay organizations. They also stated that many gay employees who have been working for the company for years and have constantly heard inappropriate gay slurs or derogatory terms used in their facilities.
Kellie, a 23-year-old former employee who was interviewed by Huffington Post, said that she has encountered both situations. She worked in a Chick-Fil-A where all the managers were professional and courteous to their employees’ lifestyle choices, but also working at another location where managers would often make homophobic jokes. She felt she would be fired immediately if she were to come out as gay. Eventually, after only working for the company for a short while longer, she quit for the reasons mentioned above.
From an ethical standpoint, Chick-Fil-A has failed its customers, as well as its employees. A company’s success hinges on the values that it communicates to its publics, as well as whom they choose to be affiliated with.
Although they have stated that they believe that everybody has the right to choose their own sexual orientation, giving money to multiple anti-gay charities, while also allowing employees to talk negatively about gay people in its facilities, is completely unethical because it is leading everyone astray.
Customers believed they were supporting a company with a business model that met their ethical standards, and employees believed that they where working for a well-rounded and fair company.
— Becca Page