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Phoenix Breakfast Club restaurant fires employee for racial slur on order

(Facebook Photo/Rakevion White)

PHOENIX – A downtown Phoenix restaurant reversed course and fired a server who’d used a racial slur on a food order submitted to a black coworker last month.

Executives for the Breakfast Club issued a statement about the firing Thursday night, more than three weeks after the Oct. 22 incident.

“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,” CEO Kyle Shivers and COO Ernie Vega said.

“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.”

Earlier this week, Rakevion White, who works at the CityScape restaurant, posted a photo of the order ticket, which was labeled as “n—- order,” using the slur.

White’s Facebook post said two employees were involved and no disciplinary action had been taken as of Tuesday.

“My employer allowed me to (be) disrespected and humiliated by my coworkers. … 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,” White wrote.

Shivers and Vega said they spoke with leaders from the African American community Wednesday, leading to their decision to fire the employee who turned in the order.

“We came to a realization: The only way to ensure that Breakfast Club has a zero tolerance against discrimination is to take strong public action when discrimination occurs,” they said.

Previously, the restaurant said it had disciplined the employees involved but nobody would be fired.

Here is the complete text of Thursday’s statement from Shivers and Vega:

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.

As people of faith, we prayed afterwards and discussed our next steps in depth. We came to a realization: the only way to ensure that Breakfast Club has a zero tolerance against discrimination is to take strong public action when discrimination occurs.

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. 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 we believe in God’s grace and in the sincerity of this young man’s remorse, we have more than 100 employees to consider and our standing as an organization in a community we value and love very much. We have heard from many members of the community on both sides of this issue, including people who offered advice on how best to move forward. We will continue to formulate next steps as to policies and procedures.

We will do all in our power to ensure such an incident never happens again.

Once again, to anyone offended by this incident, you have our deepest apology. Beyond words, you have our pledge of action to do what we can at Breakfast Club to continue to make this community a better place for one and all. We hope you will continue to walk with us as we grow and move forward, continuing to serve our guests, our Breakfast Club family and the Valley. Thank you.

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