Paula Deen is at it again, and this time showing how not to treat employees. It was just over a month ago when she was criticized for using the statement “that black, gay football player,” which seems to have killed off her restaurant Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House.
The former star of the Food Network made the decision to close the restaurant without any warning. Many members of staff did not know what was going on. They turned up for their shift to find removal men taking out various pieces of equipment and a sign to say the restaurant was closed for good.
A number of staff members publicly complained at the treatment, as well as their family members. It is a sad state of affairs when an employer cannot even give her staff members some time to find new work and make sure they are ready for the business to close down. This is not a decision one comes to overnight, and booking the removal trucks would have taken some time.
One staff member’s daughter complained about the treatment, saying her mother had remained loyal to Deen for the last eight years. Nobody called her to say that she was not needed any more. The same woman complained on behalf of her fiance too, who claims that he was asked for his availability to work the next week. The woman does state that the manager called, so he/she may not have known about the decision to close either. If that is true, Deen definitely shows just how not to treat employees.
Others who did not turn up for the first shifts of the day found out through the company’s Facebook page. It had a short message thanking everyone for a great 10 years, indicating that it would be closed forever.
Some staff members have come forward to say that they were not left completely defenseless. They all received their wages in full up until Wednesday (the last day of business), and had a list of all the restaurants in the area that were hiring. It is something for those worrying about how they’re going to afford next month’s rent or put food on the table. They were also given severance pay that calculates to two week’s worth, and vacation pay.
Many staff members are hurt due to the loyalty and support they showed Deen during her difficult time over the last few months. While her name was thrown around negatively, the employees would continue to stick up for her even if it did mean that they had food thrown at them. They expected more from the food celebrity, and deserved it too.
The hardest part for many was the need to be escorted through the premises by a police officer just to be able to collect belongings. Had the employees known, they could have ensured that all belongings were taken and could have spent those few hours searching for a new job. Deen certainly sets a standard for poor treatment, and shows just how not to treat employees when it comes to closing a business.
Opinion by Alexandria Ingham