Temple Coffee apologise for black ex-employee being called a ‘slave’

‘We have not only failed this employee but ourselves and our customers too’

Temple Coffee and Doughnuts has issued an apology after a former black employee described how she was racially abused by a staff member, including being called a “slave”.

In an Instagram post, the popular coffee shop said: “We are deeply sorry that someone has suffered while working for Temple.

“We have not only failed this employee but ourselves and our customers too.”

Former Temple employee Sabrina Said detailed on Facebook how a colleague called her a “slave” and told her, “I can send you back to your country.”

The same colleague would make comments such as: “Here’s more dishes for you to wash, it suits you.”

This would happen every shift and he’d always target Sabrina when she was on her own.

Temple has recently been publicly supporting Black Lives Matter. This has prompted Sabrina to speak up about her feeling that management didn’t act upon racism under their own roof.

Sabrina wrote in a Facebook post: “At the time I didn’t say anything to him. I knew what was happening was wrong, but not once did I try to stop him.

“I did my best to block it out. I enjoyed socialising with the other members of staff and interacting with the customers.

“But inside there was a hatred was building up against this individual and I put all my efforts into avoiding him as much as possible, but he would always find me and say these vile things to me when nobody else was around.”

Another staff member experienced similar abuse by the same employee.

They addressed this issue with the manager and following a meeting, the racist employee never bothered Sabrina again.

Sabrina commented: “When I saw this drastic change in behaviour I thought he had finally been called out for his language towards me and the other staff member and also assumed that the mangers had mentioned about the racial incident!”

The manager never approached Sabrina to check if she was okay, and following their release of a BLM donut, Sabrina felt she could finally speak up about her experiences.

Sabrina commented: “I was finally brave enough after two years to message the boss about this, but I wasn’t expecting my story to be met with denial about issues that occurred during the time I worked there.

“Unfortunately, instead of acknowledgment [or] reparation I was met with denial about issues that occurred during the time I worked there. The boss declared she knew nothing of the abuse and that there was no record of the meeting from that time.

“There were issues and the they were not dealt with the appropriately!”

Only now have Temple launched an internal investigation into these allegations.

A spokesperson for Temple Coffee and Donuts said: “We are deeply sorry that someone has suffered whilst working for Temple.

“As a business we have always tried to be as inclusive and open as possible and to support causes that we do genuinely believe in – but it is now clear to us that we have failed.

“We have not only failed this employee but ourselves and our customers too. We agree with many of the comments and messages that we have received that what has taken place is absolutely not acceptable, and it does not align with the values we hold as individuals or as a business.

“We are ashamed that something like this could happen under our roof and whilst this does not mitigate the pain caused we take full ownership of our failings.

“During the last few days we have been made further aware of the true scope and nature of what took place, making it clear that the action taken at that time was far from sufficient.

“Over the weekend we initiated an internal investigation and have begun speaking to current and former employees in order to readdress this situation and to also understand the steps we need to take to ensure nobody else ever feels victimised in our work place. Racism or any other form of abuse is not acceptable at work or anywhere else.

“We understand that in these rightly highly charged times that words may ring hollow and that the proof of our values will be in the way that we react to this and in the actions we take going forward.

“We will continue the dialogue with our former employee in order to make reparations and we have taken on an external HR and legal representative in order [to] help guide us with the actions we must take in order to correct the hurt we have caused.”

Sabrina Said has been contacted for comment.

Temple Coffee and Donuts have been contacted for comment.