human rights tribunal rules in favor of black teen employee
A 13-year-old Black employee of a juice bar in Vancouver’s upscale South Granville neighborhood, who was wrongfully targeted by her manager, was awarded $27,862 for loss of wages, and injury to her dignity. The B.C. The Human Rights Tribunal established that the teenager was targeted because of her race and sex in a “poisoned” work environment.
Nicholas Stone, the Heirloom juice bar and restaurant’s manager, had accused the teen employee of stealing from the cash register in September 2019. She was a new employee and it was her new job as she had been moved from dish washing to serving customers in the front.
Teen Wrongfully Targeted
The tribunal heard that the teen employee, referred to as AB, was confronted by her manager Nicholas Stone during a shift on September 14. He accused AB of stealing cash and called her untrustworthy. AB alleged that he said “We can’t have thieves working for the company”. However, Stone disagreed but agreed that he spoke to her about cash going missing during her shift.
AB told the tribunal that she started crying because she was scared and uncomfortable. She called her mother who arranged a meeting the following day with Stone, Heirloom’s owner and president William Greer and AB, herself. Greer on his part said cash shortages were just mistakes of young or inexperienced workers. He told the tribunal that the last thing they think is theft. Greer highlighted that there’s usually a plausible explanation as new employees sometimes enter a menu item or gift card incorrectly.
Amber Prince, a member of the tribunal, said AB (the teen employee) was singled out as a potential thief, despite there being no evidence to that effect. She found it odd that Stone made such a big deal out of the small incident. Prince noted that there were four other employees on shift with AB when Stone confronted her, and didn’t question the others.
The tribunal said the manager didn’t investigate other explanations for the cash error before or after confronting AB. Moreover, Stone didn’t make any effort to apologize to the teen employee or sort out the misunderstanding.
Black Women and Girls Are Discriminated
However, AB told the tribunal that after the incident Stone watched her closely and wouldn’t let her work at the cash register. She was also assigned tasks in the back of the store. Later that month, AB handled her resignation letter.
Prince said AB’s loss of employment was the result of the poisoned relationship with the store manager. She added that Black people are singled out for criticism at work disproportionate to actual work performance; Black women and girls are unfairly characterized as angry, rude, or having a bad attitude, and are unfairly expected to smile and appear pleasing at work.