A Black Server Says He Was Sent A Food Order With The N-Word. A Manager Said It Was “A Joke.”
The 21-year-old Arizona college student said after he confronted his manager about the order, his hours at the restaurant were cut.
A black restaurant server said his coworkers sent him a food order with the n-word written on it last month, but management brushed it off as a joke.
In an Instagram post on Tuesday, Rakevion White, a 21-year-old student at Arizona State University, said the two employees behind the Oct. 22 stunt at the Breakfast Club in Phoenix still have not been disciplined.
Instead, White told BuzzFeed News that since he addressed the incident with management, his hours have been reduced and he has only been assigned to work one shift as a server — effectively preventing him from earning tips.
"They're making light of the situation and pretty much still allowing it to go on," White said.
White, who started working at the Phoenix breakfast restaurant in February, said he was working on the kitchen line as a server assistant the morning of Oct. 22 when he noticed a new order appear on the kitchen line screen.
"It pretty much lets me know that another order had come in for me to fulfill or whatnot, and so that's when I saw the order and it said 'Nigga Order' on it," White said. He was certain the message was directed at him because he was the only one working in that area of the restaurant at the time, he said.
White confronted a coworker who was serving the bar where the order had been placed and asked her to remove it.
"I asked her if she could take the order down or change the name because I was offended by it and I was upset that she was sending something in like that to me, and she said that she didn’t know how to take it down," White said, adding that she just laughed and "pretty much disregarded how I felt about it."
White said when he went to talk to a manager about what happened he learned that a second coworker had been involved in entering the order but was told that "it was more than likely a joke."
"It made me feel uncomfortable because it’s like, OK, well, you're pretty much saying it's acceptable, but since they explained to you that they were joking, then I should be OK with it," White said.
Since then, White, who relies on the restaurant job to pay for school, said he has only been scheduled to work 14 to 18 hours a week, far fewer than the 25 hours a week he had been previously working. He has also been reassigned to server assistant shifts and working a to-go food kiosk rather than waiting tables.
Tuesday was the first day he worked as a server since the incident.
"I'm pretty much not making any money working there," White said.
Meanwhile, the two employees involved just received write-ups in their employee files but have not been suspended, demoted, or terminated for their actions, according to White.
Breakfast Club did not return BuzzFeed News' requests for comment. The restaurant's social media pages appear to have been taken down since White posted about the incident.
A coworker who wished to remain anonymous confirmed White's account and told BuzzFeed News they felt that management had attempted to conceal the issue.
"Nothing really happened, and it kind of just got blown over," the coworker said.
Both White and his coworker said this wasn't the first time black employees have been discriminated against at the restaurant, noting that other former coworkers have been fired for seemingly lesser offenses like "inappropriate" work attire or for eating in certain areas.
"I feel personally that if I had pretty much did something like this I would have been fired immediately," White said. "It’s not OK. Not just that it was done to me and you know other black employees but for any race regardless that works there."
After this story was published, management reactivated the Breakfast Club's account on Instagram and posted a message explaining their reasons for not firing the other staff member. They called that employee's conduct "crude, insensitive, and deeply hurtful." They said they would give him a second chance, but not a third.