New Jersey Restaurant That Threatened To Fire Employee For Attending Funeral Apologizes, Changes Course

Publicly shaming a business on the internet can do wonders for your complaint.

an empty restaurant table
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Publicly shaming a business on the internet can do wonders for your complaint.

A New Jersey restaurant that appeared to fire an employee who asked for time off for a funeral has changed course and apologized, Yahoo Lifestyle is reporting.

Last week, the saga of an unidentified college student and her boss, identified only as “Katie,” began making the rounds of the internet. It seems that the young woman, who is a student at the College of New Jersey (TCNJ), wanted some time off from her job as a hostess at Ewing’s Café Seventy-Two so she could attend the funeral of a friend. That friend has since been identified as Michael Sot.

“Someone close to my [sic] just passed away, and I’m trying to find a cover for my shifts so I can attend the funeral service rather than call out and leave you guys hanging.”

The woman texted her boss, “Katie,” and the conversation didn’t go well – at least, according to screenshots of the conversation posted by another person, who claimed to be a friend of the college student.

“Are you serious? No.”

Eventually, the woman was told not to bother coming back to work.

“I like you but I’m sick of all staff not taking their job seriously and just f***ing expect me to cover all of your shifts. I have a business to run at the end of the day. And a family.”

The conversation was posted to a TCNJ Facebook group, and from there the story blew up. The restaurant received an intense backlash, complete with threats of boycotts and a thorough thrashing on Yelp.

Years ago, when you had a problem with your boss, you either worked it out, took your lumps, or got a new job. But in this day of social media, you have a fourth option: publicly shaming them over the internet.

However, when you publicly shame someone over the internet, the readers only experience one side of the story. What’s more, screenshots of conversations, taken out of context, don’t always show all the facts.

At least, that’s what Café Seventy-Two co-owner “Ben” said, in a lengthy statement.

“This interaction was displayed completely out of context by a friend of the employee and drastically misrepresents Katie and our establishment.”

Ben went on to say, however, that there is no excuse for any lack of compassion shown to the employee who wanted to mourn her friend. He also says that the woman has not been fired and that she is welcome to return to her shifts when she is ready. He apologized for any offense caused.

“On behalf of Café 72 and our family, we offer our sincerest apology.”