A health food store in New York has fired an employee after he allegedly called a Jewish co-worker a “f**king Jew” and then turned off the lights in a produce cooler before telling her “you’re in the gas chamber,” local paper the Daily Freeman reports.
The alleged incident took place on March 11 at the Mother Earth’s Storehouse location in Kingston. Frustrated that management did not take her daughter Sarah’s concerns seriously enough, the young woman’s mother, Jackie Winder Shabanowitz, called out the store in a Facebook post last Friday.
According to her post, the male coworker was made to apologize to her 18-year-old daughter for the initial incident — but he still had his job and had “harassed her again” two days later. She also claimed that managers told Sarah that she’d be fired if she went public about the anti-Semitic attack.
“I wanted to show up there and cause a huge stink but Sarah didn’t want me to,” she added. “I told her to quit and go to the police. I told her when the managers threatened her she should have threatened them with the media. I can offer her advice and support, it’s up to her if she still wants to work there. If she continues to work there then she condones that behavior.”
The posts sparked outrage, with some commenters calling for a boycott of the store.
“This is disgusting and appalling behavior from her co-worker and management,” read one comment. “How awful for your daughter to be spoken and treated.”
Shabanowitz later told commenters that her daughter quit her job at the store, which Mother’s Earth Storehouse owner Kevin Schneider confirmed to the Daily Freeman.
Schneider also confirmed that the male coworker in question was fired by phone on Saturday, a day after Shabanowitz’s post went up. But he said that management’s response was misrepresented, resulting in “unfair” backlash that he felt the store didn’t deserve. Schneider told the paper that the two part-time employees had clashed in the past, which is why the store conducted an investigation with the aim of both keeping their jobs.
“It started off as a complaint, then it was countered, then it escalated,” he said.
The store also acknowledged the negative feedback it received in a Facebook post, citing “a lot of misinformation on social media.” In a subsequent post, however, management did apologize for the incident, adding, “We have never, nor will we ever tolerate hate.”
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