An employee at a downtown Phoenix restaurant has been fired after typing the N-word on a Black co-worker’s order ticket.
It took weeks after the incident occurred on Oct. 22 for the Breakfast Club restaurant to take action against the employee, who used the racial slur.
Rakevion White, the Black employee who received the receipt with the racial slur typed on it, said another employee laughed when he brought it to their attention, reports The Arizona Republic on MSN.com.
Initially, the business issued a public apology on Wednesday (Nov. 13) and said both employees involved, whose names have not been released, were issued verbal and written warnings, but there were no plans to fire them, Breakfast Club Chief Executive Officer Kyle Shivers and Chief Operating Officer Ernie Vega told The Arizona Republic.
The restaurant’s initial decision to not fire the employee that typed the racial slur on the receipt was “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,” BuzzFeed reports.
By Thursday (Nov. 14), after having an “eye-opening” meeting with the local Black community, the restaurant changed its course of action and fired the employee.
“Yesterday, the Breakfast Club team spoke with leaders from our local African American community. Their passion and insight on the subject of racial discrimination and the awful, unacceptable October 22nd incident at our Phoenix restaurant was truly eye-opening,” a statement by Shivers and Vega posted on Instagram stated.
“Today, we terminated the employee who, in what he described as a joke, substituted a racial slur for his own name when putting in his own lunch order,” the statement added. “As we said previously, this was not a joke, even if the slur was not directed at a guest or a fellow worker. It was crude, insensitive and deeply hurtful. It was an extremely serious breach of how we expect Breakfast Club employees to treat each other and our guests.”
While the slur was supposedly a joke and not meant to be directed at Rakevion White, the 21-year-old college student who was working as a server and put in the order obviously took it personally and was offended by it and by the company’s lackadaisical response when he initially reported the racist incident.
“Apparently this was a hysterical joke about myself that everyone including management thought was ok because the two employees were ‘Only joking,’” he wrote on Instagram Wednesday (Nov. 13) with a photo of the receipt.
“Now I’ve been called way worse in my life but if you know me, one thing I don’t do is tolerate disrespect,” he wrote.
“But my employer allowed me to be disrespected and humiliated by my coworkers. Almost 4 weeks later no disciplinary action has been taken against the two employees,” White continued. “Furthermore, since this has taken place not only myself but other black employees hours have been reduced and they have not let us serve as waiters,” he added. “For future references please be mindful of the companies that you support!”
After the employee was fired, White told The Arizona Republic in a written statement, “Today’s firing should have happened the day I was the butt of an N-Word joke. Management was alerted to this serious offense on day one.”
He added, “I just ask for prayers as I continue to labor, honorably, in a tense workplace that is grappling with issues of racial justice and diversity. I do have hope though and that hope will see me through.”
White continues to work at the Breakfast Club because he is paying his way through college at Arizona State University, BuzzFeed reports.
“I still feel uncomfortable ‘til this day, but I am a college student and putting myself through school,” he told BuzzFeed.
Shivers and Vega’s statement issued Thursday after the employee’s termination also included, “We will continue to formulate next steps as to policies and procedures. We will do everything in our power to ensure such an incident never happens again.”
(Photo: Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury)