Blount teens claim they were fired for attending funeral

Blount teens claim they were fired for attending funeral

Posted:
Jole Payne and Jose Hernandez were fired after attending their friend's funeral. Jole Payne and Jose Hernandez were fired after attending their friend's funeral.
The teens didn't expect to get fired by text message right after the funeral. The teens didn't expect to get fired by text message right after the funeral.
Skyler Boring (Source: Family) Skyler Boring (Source: Family)

By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

MARYVILLE (WATE) - Two Blount County teens say they were fired from their jobs at Little River Bar-B-Que in Townsend when they chose to attend the funeral of a friend.

Skyler Boring, 17, was killed in an accidental shooting last week.

"The day after Skyler got shot I told them I wouldn't be at work Saturday," said Jole Payne.

Payne and Jose Hernandez had wrestled with Skyler since seventh grade.

"She told us we should only be off if it was immediate family. I told her we had grown up with Skyler since middle school, so he was pretty much our immediate family," Hernandez said.

The guys said they knew their boss wouldn't be happy, but didn't expect to get fired by text message right after the funeral.

"Travis said don't bother coming in tomorrow. Your check will be ready on Tuesday," Payne read from his phone.

"It's just really sad that somebody could do that, as kind and nice as people have been under the circumstances, and then to have that happen and especially to kids too," said Brandy Renfro, Payne's mother.

The owner of Little River Bar-B-Que, Travis Grant, didn't want to go on camera, but said that many of his employees went to the funeral and were not fired because they made arrangements with management. 

He said they gave students three choices: either find someone else to work for them, come in to work before or after the funeral, or go to the funeral in shifts so everyone is not gone at once. He said Hernandez and Payne refused to cooperate.

Payne and Hernandez said they have no regrets.

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