XS Espresso manager sacks employee over ‘racist’ locals

22 June, 2020 by
Hospitality Magazine

Barista Ayokunle Oluwalana was allegedly let go from his position as a barista at XS Espresso Bondi for his skin colour.

In an Instagram post, the 25-year-old British-Nigerian journalism graduate from London said he was surprised when his manager told him there had been complaints about his coffee, given he’d only received compliments from customers during his time at the outlet.

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According to Oluwalana, the manager then said, “well, you know how Bondi is; the locals they’re a bit racist. They like their coffee made by the barista that’s there already”, who Oluwalana goes on to say is a “white guy”.

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The Sydney coffee chain apologised to Oluwalana, posting a statement to Facebook on Thursday 18 June.

The brand said it would be taking a number of actions to ensure the incident was an isolated one, such as anti-discrimination training for all staff; implementing an in-depth on-boarding program to ensure all future team members are aware of brand values; and revising policies to ensure a safe and inclusive environment.

XS Espresso also said their would be consequences for the manager, whose future at the company has yet to be determined.

As a brand we stand in solidarity against systemic racism, and are extremely disheartened and grieved that inequality…

XS Espressoさんの投稿 2020年6月18日木曜日

Oluwalana has accepted the apology, but said he’d now like to put a pin in the situation, which he hopes will be a learning experience for all.

“… These have been a crazy 20 hours and I’m shocked to see how far this thing has gone,” Oluwalana said in an Instagram post. “It was never the intention, I just wanted some of you to know what happened.

“After speaking to the owner of the whole company, I do believe that he is shocked and saddened by what happened and the manager of the Bondi franchise has been reprimanded for his actions.

“I am surprisingly not sad or angry, but more so pleased and proud of the responses shown, that gives me faith in the world in these current times.”

In an article published by HuffpostOluwalana wrote: “I believe the decision was money motivated and he didn’t want to lose his clientele, but if that is your clientele, then they’re not people you should continue welcoming. Your staff should be able to trust you to have their backs. There should never be a time when you side with racists over your employees. That goes for all hospitality managers.”

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