The Jury Talks Back


Chipotle Offers to Reinstate Manager Unfairly Fired Due to Food Thief’s Viral Video

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 12:41 pm

Chipotle Manager

For once, the mob may not have won. Entirely.

Karen Zamora at the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune reports:

Chipotle on Monday offered a manager her job back after she was fired for not serving five black men last week, an incident captured in a video thread that went viral.

Dominique Moran, the manager at the Grand Avenue Chipotle in St. Paul, said she had her team’s best interest in mind when she repeatedly refused service to the group of men Thursday night. She was surprised that Chipotle initially fired her and hasn’t decided if she will return to her job with the store.

“I was obviously trying to do the right thing,” Moran said Monday. “I told Chipotle to tell the boys I say sorry. … I didn’t think I would lose my job, I thought I did something good by standing up for my people.”

Chipotle fired her Friday, saying she did not follow company policy, which says employees should not ask customers to pay for their food before they order it.

On Monday, the day it reversed course, Chipotle said it spent several days reviewing the available evidence.

“While our normal protocol was not followed serving these customers, we publicly apologize to our manager for being put in this position,” the statement said. “We will work to continue to ensure that we support a respectful workplace for our employees and our customers alike.”

Whether Ms. Moran wants to continue to work for such a company is another question entirely. But at least, now, it’s up to her.

I do not attribute this outcome to myself, but I did contribute to the pushback that achieved this result. I’ll describe what I did as a blueprint for how to deal with these situations.

First, on Sunday morning, I sent an email to Karen Zamora, the reporter at the Star Tribune who wrote the original story about the kerfuffle as well as the story linked above, and brought to her attention the evidence suggesting that the “customers” were in fact repeat food thieves.

Second, I tweeted at Chipotle’s corporate Twitter account:

This is one of the few ways to actually get results these days, because the poor schlubs running these corporate accounts have the idea that any criticism is a crisis that has to be headed off. To be sure, that attitude contributed to Ms. Moran’s immediate firing — but good-hearted people can take advantage of that mindset to use Twitter to effectively push back against the mob. In this case, Chipotle’s response to me was their first indication on Twitter that they were having second thoughts about the decision:

I kept pushing back:

Third, I wrote a post about the issue. And some people put it on the Twitters and the Facebooks. Which, God love ’em.

Which reminds me: at the urging of a former blogging colleague, I have added some shiny new social media buttons for each post, thus bringing the blog current with 2011 blogging standards. People have been asking for them for a while but I got motivated last night. I think they work quite nicely. You’ll find them at the top of this post. Give them a spin!

And always, always push back against the mob. It can work.

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