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Impeach Waitress Still Has Job

A Florida waitress who said she was fired for criticizing Republican Rep. Charles T. Canady about the impeachment of President Clinton still has a job if she wants it, Olive Garden restuarant officials said.

A corporate official met with Carolee Westcott on Monday. She had said that while she liked working for the company, she would have to think about whether she would return.

"We had a good discussion and hope to have another (today)," said Dave Pickens, senior vice president for the Orlando division of the restaurants. "There was no resolution."

Westcott, 38, was serving elsewhere in her Olive Garden restaurant Dec. 21 when Canady was dining with his wife, Jennifer.

She said that she remarked, "It's a shame when politicians do things for themselves and ignore the will of the people."

Canady overheard and spoke to a manager, who called Westcott to Canady's table. Canady asked her if she had something to say to his face.

Westcott told him she felt he was a turncoat and traitor for leaving the Democratic Party in 1989 and told him he had stabbed her president in the back.

Canady, a member of the House Judiciary Committee who took a leading role in the impeachment debate, admitted he complained about Westcott. But he said he specifically asked that she not be fired.

But Westcott said she was fired and barred, with her five children, from a Christmas arty at the restaurant later that night.

Rick Van Warner, vice president of communications for Darden Restaurants Inc. - the parent company of Olive Garden Inc. - said Westcott was not fired nor banned from the party. She was merely asked to discuss the incident with management, Van Warner said.

"Number one, we never fire anyone on the spot. That is a standard operating procedure for the company," Van Warner said.

"Her opinions weren't the issue," he said. "It was her attitude toward and her berating of a customer that was at issue. However, given the fact that the congressman invited her back to his table to continue the discussion, the situation is somewhat different."

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