Did Macy’s Discriminate Against This Female Army Veteran?

Specialist Kayla Reyes

Specialist Kayla Reyes

Army Specialist Kayla Reyes spent a year deployed in Afghanistan — but now that she’s safely back home, the female veteran says she has been treated unfairly by one of the largest retail businesses in the U.S.

Kayla recently attended a job interview for a customer service position with Macy’s in Fresno, California. Instead of seeing her Army experience as an advantage, however, the retailer is alleged to have had harsh words about Reyes’s military service. According to Specialist Reyes, a Macy’s representative told her that her time in Afghanistan made it impossible to provide customer service.

In an online message, Specialist Reyes noted: “After the hiring manager learned that I had been overseas, the way she looked at me was entirely different. She told me, because I had been to war, my mindset was different… and she couldn’t see me on her sales floor.”

In a fairly generic response, a Macy’s media representative released a statement, saying in part: “Our commitment to veterans is strong, as we recognize that veterans possess leadership skills that we find are essential in a dynamic department store environment.”

However, the young veteran indicated that the actions of the Macy’s personnel did not match those words. Reyes was clearly disappointed and frustrated by the way she felt treated.¬†“[Macy’s] told me, I don’t really know how to keep my composure when there is someone in my face, mad,” wrote Reyes.

“That is discrimination to the fullest. I didn’t join at 17 and deploy at 19 to Afghanistan to come home and not have equal opportunities because of the places I have been.”

Social media sites quickly spread word of Kayla’s experience, with many people agreeing with her frustration about anti-military bias, and prompting her to discuss the topic with users on Twitter.¬†Many people asked Macy’s to address the concerns more fully, but the retailer did not respond beyond its previously-issued short statement.



  • guest

    I’m waiting for all the teabaggers to rally to Macy’s side, declaiming their support for a private company to discriminate against people for arbitrary reasons in their hiring process.

  • Vunderlak

    I fully support our vets and always will. Got buddies who will never see the sunrise again because of these stupid fake wars. That said, I will hire whoever the hell I want in my business. And fire whoever the hell I want. So there you go, moron. Same thing goes with my living room, I do not have to let you in the front door if I do not like you, and you cannot live on my couch or screw my wife, either.Fuck being P.C. People have rights to their own shit, you communist asshole. I wonder if somebody called her right not to have sex with a homeless person “discrimination against bums for arbitrary reasons”, if you would apply the same logic?

  • R.Cole

    I have a Macy’s card. I will cut it up and send it back. Vietnam Vet

  • guest

    Well following your logic (if you can call it that), you should see no problem with Macy’s refusing to employ this young veteran due to her perceived lack of customer service skills. All I’m saying is that if you bitch about this, that would be quite hypocritical of you.

  • Ed Roberts

    I’ve found things like this alot — on one hand their quick to pretend and say “Thank you for your service” but then the reality is what she has found

  • David Platt

    I’m gonna go get a Macy’s card, and then cut it up and send it back. An American company would not do this. Period.

  • Vunderlak

    How so? I do not have to like, hire, or respect you or your beliefs in my OWN place. How is that not logical? Hey, can I move into your mommy’s basement with you?

  • guest

    You think you should have the right to hire (or refuse to hire) anyone you want based on any criteria. Apparently Macy’s thinks the same thing (although not as extremely). So you shouldn’t have any problem with what Macy’s did. I, on the other hand, think it’s unfair to refuse to employ her solely because of her military experience.

  • Larry

    So far my experience with the companies that say they hire vets has proven to be a complete falsehood. After 50 applications put with companies at veterans for hire job fairs not a single call back or job offer.

  • Vunderlak

    Yes I do, that was my point. I think it is unfair to have to employ her, just because she was a veteran. A lot of people are. I will tell you what, when you own your own business, you hire whoever the fuck you want. That is your right. I bet you wouldn’t hire a long haired biker/death metal singer from Ashland, KY, would you? It might look bad for your business. So until you are willing to change your beliefs to accept me into your employment payroll, then I do not see any reason why people should change theirs to accept yours.

  • guest

    Well I don’t own a business and don’t plan on it any time soon. And being a “longhair” myself, I would hire the biker/death metal singer if he were the best candidate for the job. You can of course set dress codes if you want to maintain a professional image. Anyway, I would hire the most qualified candidates regardless of any arbitrary condition like military experience or hair length.

  • allison

    Macy’s Hired me with no retail experience. They hired me BECAUSE I’m a vet and they knew I have a good work ethic. Just because one manager is a POS. doesn’t make the whole company bad. Macy’s even supports Veterans with the “I’ve got your 6″ charity. Macy’s does support Veterans.

  • Mcape

    I work for Macys Logistics. The general Manager of this warehous IS a Marine (retired) the other general manager is retired Navy. It sounds like it is the manager at that store..not all of Macys. My son is a Marine..and not only did they support me when he graduated..they allowed me to take time off when he came home. Macys has a strict attendance policy..and I was given no penalty. Do they support the military? I would say Yes.

  • mcape

    agreed. I work for the warehouse. and yes, they do support the military. My general Manager IS a Marine. The other Manager is retired Navy.

  • Vunderlak

    And there you go. My point is proven. I am sure there were 50 other candidates that had actual experience in the field, but they had to turn it into a “Macy’s hates veterans” party, just because the woman was fresh back from a war makes her a hero. It does not mean I do not get to choose the best candidate for the position I need filled. Does that make the manager an asshole? In my opinion, yes. But that is my opinion, and unless you are willing to let people tell you what to do with your business, your life, your anything, you have to respect theirs.

  • Kay Houser

    I wouldn’t shop at Macy’s ever again,and I will be cutting up my card.

  • PrescottRuss
  • Allson

    Macy’s actually DOES support the military. One manager decided to be a piece of shit and judge her. Macy’s hired me with no prior experience in retail because I was in the military and the hiring team knew I had a good work ethic. I was hired in as seasonal and they liked me so much that it is now a permanent job.

  • Allison

    NO. Macy’s does not discriminate against veterans. I know so many fellow veterans who work at Macy’s and they love. One woman is a piece of shit and doesn’t understand. Macy’s hired me SOLELY because of my military experience!

  • John

    Maybe the problem isn’t your veteran status. Maybe the problem was you. Just because you’re a veteran doesn’t mean you’re a good person

  • Bob K

    Until I saw all the tattoos on her arms I agreed with all of the comments. But how would shoppers react to a sales person who was covered with tattoos. Macy’s says that she was offered another position which she declined.

  • nonfednowfed

    Macy’s broke the law when it decided to not consider her for employment due to her affiliation with the military. Numerous employers have done this because they are concerned that member of the guard or reserve will be activated and gone from the job for an indefinite amount of time. The Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Act (USERRA) of 1994 states that employers may not discriminate during the hiring process. She should contact the US Dept. of Labor to file a complaint. She may also file a USERRA law suit against Macy’s. Macy’s will probably offer a monetary settlement intstead of putting its reputation on the line for discrimination.

  • nonfednowfed

    The difference between your managers and this young member of the National Guard is that they are retired and unlikely to be deployed while she may be deployed at any time for an unknown amount of time. Obviously, the interviewer decided not to consider hire for employment as soon as soon realized that might be deployed and gone from the job. Her claim that she would be unfit for the position was an apparent excuse used to discourage her. How would she know if the woman would perform the job well or not? Macy’s has broken the law in this situation. Please see my comment above. If I were the head of Macy’s I would immediately offer a public apology to her and offer her a monetary payment. Otherwise, Macy’s may well find itself in a law suit that drags it’s reputation down.

  • nonfednowfed

    The true reason that the manager did not consider her for employment is that she is a member of the National Guard and may be deployed and gone from the job for an indefinite time. Macy’s broke the law. It is illegal to discriminate against those in the Guard or Reserve. If it doesn’t apologize and provide a settlement to her, it may find itself in a law suit that it will loose.

  • nonfednowfed

    The reason for your difficulty is that many company’s are discriminating against anyone who may be deployed and gone from the job for an indefinite amount of time. I suggest that you not mention that you have recently been released from active duty. If you are in the Guard or Reserve do not mention it. If you are asked if you are in the reserve or guard, I would simply not acknowledge it. An employer has no business to ask this question unless she or he intends to discriminate. Therefore, you have no obligation to give her or him a reason to break the law. It is illegal to discriminate against those in the military. So why would an employer ask that question? If you are hired and later have to report for duty and they complain that you did explain that you were in the Guard or Reserve you should remind them that hiring discrimination against you would be illegal. You would have the USERRA of 1994 to protect you from retaliation. You could call the US Dept of Labor to assist you in the case of harassment. This discrimination by employers is well known by those in the military and has also been reported in publications. I think your luck will change if you avoid discussing any recent affiliation with the military.

  • nonfednowfed

    Military organizations have reported vast hiring discrimination against Guardsmen, Reservists, and those recently released from active duty. This is strictly forbidden by law, yet it is difficult to prove a case against an employer unless that person were to admit that no military persons were condiered for hire. Companies do not want to hire those who may be deployerd at any time for an unknown amount of time. I suggest that you not mention or even acknowledge that you have any recent affiliation with the military. If an employer asks about current military status it is probably because he or she wants to eliminate anyone who might be deployed from considerstion for the job.

  • nonfednowfed

    FYI, the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Act of 1994 strictly forbids employers from discriminating against those in the Guard, Reserve or who were recently released from active duty. You can hire who you want to. However, you may not fail to consider a person for employment simply because of their affiliation with the military. Based upon the information in the story, I suspect that the manager screened out the young woman as a potential hire as soon as she learned about her recent release from the mitary. Many companies are doing this for fear that a recently released soldier may be recalled for deployment. They are treating reservists and guardsmen the same way. This is one of the reasons that unemployment is so high amongst those with recent mitary affiliation.

  • nonfednowfed

    It is also illegal. Macy’s may well find itself in a law suit over this.

  • nonfednowfed

    In this case it did discriminate. It also broke the law.

  • nonfednowfed

    Employers do hire whom they like. What is illegal, in this case at least, is that the employer removed her from consideration from the job as soon as she learned of her recent release from the miliatary. I suspect that Macy’s is in deep trouble over this. It might be sued and embarrassed in Court.

  • Vunderlak

    That is actually a valid point, now here is the counter. It costs us between 3 and 5 grand to train an employee up to spec,(At my place, not Macy’s), now, if they stick and work out, that is awesome. If they get redeployed 8 days later, then it costs another 3-5 grand to train a replacement. That is a hell of a chance to take. Take the big picture and apply it to the real world. How would you feel if you paid for day care, went to pick up your kids, and they were sitting there alone, covered in poop, because the day care provider got shipped to Iraq again? I love me some vets, but this redeployment shit is frustrating, nowhere near as frustrating for an employer as it is for them, but there is no draft, so when you sign the rights to your life away, you have to understand that you just signed the rights to your life away. And nowhere did it state that she had ANY experience. Just that, because she was not hired, she blamed it on being a vet. Yes I am familiar with the law. Affirmative action at it’s finest. Can I hire the person who is qualified? “no, you must hire this person who may be gone in a month and has no clue what they are doing, because it is the law”. Well fuck that.

  • nonfednowfed

    No one must hire a veteran. However, no one may not hire the veteran because of military status. In other words, if a veteran is interviewed and it can be proven that the employer screened that person out of consideration simply because she or he might be deployed, that employer might well be sued and lose under USERRA. You must remember that there is no draft because we have had enough people volunteer for service for the last 40 years. If employers continue to discriminate against military persons, not enough new people will join and many will drop out of the reserve and guard. When that happens, guess who will be inducted into service. Yes, your children, including the woman, and your grandsons and granddaughters. I and I am sure you do not want to live under a draft again. So, we must all sacrifice and support those who do serve in the place of our sons and daughters. I understand your point. However, not only do you risk legal action if you refuse to hire simply because you fear a potential employee might be deployed you also discourage people from remaining in the guard or reserve or even joining the military in the first place. As a veteran yourself, I’m sure that you don’t want to see our mlitary become ineffective due to lack of quality troops. So, in order to avoid returning to the conscription that we lived under and still have a quality military, everyone in this country must sacrifice. The only thing that those who may be deployed, specifically reservists, guardsmen, and recently released persons, ask is to be treated the same as those who have chosen to not serve. So, please don’t discriminate against those who are serving or who have recently served. They don’t ask for special treatment and expect that the most qualified will get the job regardles of military experience. This is how it should be. In fact, I recommend to people to not mention any recent military experience to avoid the discrimination that many employers are now practicing. This way, they are evaluated the same as those who have never been in the military. Any employer who asks if people are in the guard or reserve or have beeen recently released may well be assumed to be preparing to discriminate. There would be little other reason for them to ask that question in a job interview. Many employers have voiced your concerns. I suggest that you voice your concern to your members of Congress. Perhaps they could help compensate when a worker is deployed. Perhaps they would give you a tax benefit. Congress is in a position to assist employers who lose workers to deployment. To make your protests against military members would be as unfair to them as it would have been to you when you returned from deployment. Also, we all agree that the constant employment of the guard and reserve is putting great pressure not only upon employers, it also strains families and individuals. Congress and the President must be pressed to devise a solution.

  • Rusty Hill

    i would too. that job pays close to 80k/year. that macys job pays about 20k per year

  • Diane

    maybe the problem is you. They stated it was because of the military. yes there are bad people everywhere & I can bet I am posting on a bad persons comment

  • MistyH

    Way to go, Diane!!! I am a veteran and have been told many times I am “overqualified” because of my experience and because of my two degrees in the paralegal and political science degrees. Don’t let this jerk John get you down, Larry-we fellow veterans know the truth, my brother-in-arms!!!

  • MistyH

    That hiring manager needs to be fired. Nothing less will do.

  • MistyH

    I didn’t see any tattoos on her arms-they were covered up with her BDU’s! Tell me, do you have x-ray vision? Remind me never to let you see my photos-don’t need you looking at my personals!

  • Christina Forbus

    If they do not answer the question then when the company runs a credit check, as many do these days, it will show up and then the vet just gave them a valid reason for not hiring them without risking some kind of backlash. It is called lying on a job application. Also any vet who has self esteem would not want to work for a company who discriminates against those who were willing to die to protect this country so they would rather know from the starting gate if the company they have appiled with are supporters of our vets or if they are one of those who enjoy the freedoms that those vets protect but walk all over & spit on them.

  • nonfednowfed

    There is no good answer to avoid this illegal discrimination. However, it seems to me that you at least have a chance to avoid it if you refuse to give an employer information to not hire you. If the employer does do a credit check and then discriminates, you could still remind the employer that it is liable for a discrimination case under the USERRA of 1994. It would not have spent money to do a credit check unless it had an interest in hiring you. If it sends you a rejection letter soon after getting the credit check, it could be assumed that the rejection is based on your military status. If you request your credit report, you will see who has received your credit report and when. I agree that no one would want to work for a company that does this. Perhaps if it finds that it is sued over this discrimination, it will think twice about not hiring veterans or reservists. Still, it won’t help you get a job.