“Challenge the status quo through the lens of our values. This is our rallying cry.” --Pat O’Dea, Peet’s Coffee & Tea CEO, 2011 Annual Report

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Reinstate Emma!

Petition To Reinstate Emma
Long-time Peet's Sheffield customers were shocked to hear that a favorite employee and highly skilled barista, Emma Bell Bern, had been fired for being late to work 3 times in 1 year. Hoping the voice of their clientele would have weight with Peet's, customers worked with Emma to write a petition asking Peet's corporate to reconsider its decision.

This cool Sunday morning, regular customers found Emma sitting outside the cafe with an off-duty coworker. Those who hadn't heard the news asked Emma why they hadn't seen her in so many days. Shocked at her response, they eagerly asked how they could help. Emma handed them the petition. 

With two clipboards circulating to accommodate everyone, Emma and Kristy collected 50+ signatures in under 2 hours.

Around 9:00 a.m., as Emma and Kristy sat by the door and continued to break the news to dismayed customers, a tall man got out of his car and quickly approached their table. 

"Are you Emma and Kristy?" the man demanded, pointing his finger at the two women in turn. When the startled women didn't reply, he repeated his question, but when asked for his name, he would not identify himself.

The man turned out to be recently hired Chicago District Manager Glenn Johnson. He ordered Emma to step away from her friend and speak to him alone. Unnerved by his tone, Emma suggested that they speak where they were standing, with her friend present. Glenn repeated his order that she step away from where she was. After asking Kristy to come with her, Emma walked a ways down the sidewalk, where she was berated by Glenn, who accused her of soliciting customers and disrupting business. After threatening to call the police on Emma, and fire Kristy, Glenn eventually calmed down and agreed that if Emma would stop collecting petition signatures, he would meet with her later this week to discuss her termination.

Emma's meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. this Tuesday, September 10th.

Emma's petition reads:
"On August 30th, Peet’s Coffee & Tea’s corporate office directed local management to fire Chicago store Shift Lead Emma Bell Bern. Emma was fired for clocking in late on 3 occasions within a 1-year period. Emma was with Peet’s for 5 years and was recently promoted on the store manager’s strong recommendation. She was an exemplary employee and a store leader. Fellow employees and customers alike are shocked and confused by the decision.

In unilaterally firing Emma, officials at corporate headquarters hijacked local management’s discretion, a key provision of Peet’s Retail Attendance Policy. This top-down dismissal of a senior employee for a minor offense is not just detrimental to the store, the employees, and the customers, but also incredibly disrespectful to the Chicago store’s management team.

We urge Peet’s to reinstate Emma Bell Bern immediately, and to guarantee the employees of Peet’s that all such future decisions will be made in dialogue with local management."

September 13th update: you can now sign Emma's petition online at bit.ly/standwithemma. Thank you for your support.

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