Op-Eds Speaking Truth to the Powers-That-Be
The Huffington Post reported that Tori Christina Jenkins was suspended with pay by a Darden Restaurant chain, Red Lobster, after her father posted a photo of a receipt that his daughter, a waitress at their Franklin, Tennessee location, allegedly received with the words “None N**ger” scrawled over the tip line.
What they didn’t report, is the jaw-dropping wonder as to why Darden’s 57 year old CEO, Clarence Otis, Jr. amazingly has not stood by the employee.
Otis, a graduate of Stanford Law, Williams College, and Stanford University is also black, and was raised in Vicksburg, Mississippi during the height of the Civil Rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s.
Ms. Jenkins is suspended with pay, and apparently, oddly, still working while suspended, according to HuffPo. We wouldn’t want to pay her to sit at home for “suspending” her, now would we?
Her father, who posted the photo and a comment on his facebook page, is not an employee of Darden. He exercised his First Amendment rights to post that photo. His comment was that he hoped people seeing it would realize:
“[T]hat we still have much ignorance to overcome.”
Otis should be much more attuned to this problem than many major American corporate CEOS, and, as a lawyer himself, might be vaguely familiar with the First Amendment, and the notion that parents’ free speech rights should not attach consequences to their children.
Corporate policies against trashing employers on the web are becoming part of the long stock policy list at most food and retail outlets. They also do it to keep employees from taking those pictures that pop up from restaurant chains of health-code violations like food improperly stored or pest control problems as a way of shaming the employer into making improvements.
This is not that situation though. Jenkins father made no negative comment about Darden or Red Lobster. If Darden had chosen to take the high road, and ban the cheap red-neck from Red Lobster who wrote this hateful scrawl on the receipt rather than leave a tip, Red Lobster would have come out smelling like a red rose.
Jenkins father is right. If his daughter can’t get an immediate fair shake from a restaurant chain run by one of the top black American CEOs when a disgusting racist wanders into one of his backwater McSeafooderies, then we shouldn’t expect much from companies whose corporate overlords come from far more silver spoon upbringings.
My shiny two.