A Black employee at a popular Arizona breakfast spot is outraged after he says two co-workers printed a racial racial slur on his food order as a “joke,” an offense restaurant management has yet to address.
Rakevion White, a server at Breakfast Club in downtown Phoenix, shared a photo of the dine-in order ticket on Instagram. It reads “N—-a order” across the top.
White, 21, explained the order was sent to him by two other workers and when he voiced his complaints to management, they brushed it off as just another hijink.
“Apparently it was a hysterical joke about myself that everyone, including management, thought was OK because the two employees were ‘only joking,” he wrote. “I’ve been called way worse in my life but if you know me, one thing I don’t do is tolerate disrespect.”
White decried the incident and blasted his employer for allowing him to be “humiliated” by his colleagues, without consequence.
“Almost 4 weeks later no disciplinary action has been taken against the two employees,” he added. The server further alleged that since the “prank,” his hours, as well as those of other African-American employees “have been reduced and they have not let us serve as waiters.”
The Phoenix community is now rallying around the young man. This week, protesters staged a sit-in at the popular eatery to protest the mistreatment.
“We do not tolerate racism in downtown Phoenix,” said local activist Rev. Jarrett Maupin, who organized Tuesday’s protest, according to CBS 5 AZ. “Especially at restaurants that take our dollars. We are good enough to spend our money in there. We demand more respect than this.”
White also expressed anger at the fact that the two employees who were in on the joke still haven’t been fired.
“I feel uncomfortable coming in to work knowing that I’m able to be a joke to people that I was comfortable around day by day, and there is nothing being done for that,” he said at a recent press conference.
The Breakfast Club’s CEO Kyle Shivers and COO Ernie Vega addressed the Oct. 22 incident in a lengthy statement Wednesday, in which they denied ever discriminating against anyone or tolerating discrimination.
“This wasn’t a joke, even if it wasn’t directed at a guest or a fellow worker,” the wrote in a statement posted to Facebook. “It was crude, insensitive and deeply hurtful. It was not funny. It was an extremely serious breach of how we expect our employees to treat each other and our guests.”
After an investigation, the company said it took “immediate action” to discipline the workers involved with a write up and verbal reprimand. Other reports state only one employee faced punishment for his “appalling, bad judgement.” They decided against firing him, however.
“This was not a decision made to minimize his unacceptable conduct,” Vega and Shivers explained, adding that it was instead “based on the depth of his remorse, the sincerity of his apology to everyone he offended and his five-year prior record of treating his fellow employees with respect.”
They said they were giving the worker “a second chance” but warned “there won’t be a third.”
The execs didn’t address White’s accusations about his hours being slashed, but Vega told CBS 5 AZ the company never retaliated against the employee for speaking up.
Maupin said he plans to file a complaint with the Arizona Attorney General’s Commission on Civil Rights over the incident.