A Filipino employee at a Santa Cruz restaurant was fired for engaging in a physical altercation with customers who reportedly attacked him with racial slurs.
Drunken brawl: Two weeks ago, a brawl broke out in the Alderwood restaurant between two groups of intoxicated guests, one of which included a restaurant employee who was off-duty.
- According to KSBW, the two parties had been drinking that night.
- A guest from the other group fell into the COVID-19 precautionary partitions between tables, hitting the table with the employee’s group.
- While the circumstances surrounding the incident were not specified, this reportedly happened three times and prompted the restaurant to ask the other group to leave.
- A brawl between the two groups eventually broke out. During the altercation, the Filipino employee was reportedly called racial slurs.
- Local authorities arrived later and detained those who participated in the brawl.
- The incident is currently under investigation not as a hate crime but as a disturbance.
- “We have reviewed some of the video. Some of the video is not that clear and we’re waiting for more,” Santa Cruz Police Lieutenant Warren Berry was quoted as saying.
The aftermath: Alderwood terminated the employee a week after the incident, prompting criticism from its own employees and people on social media, reports KION.
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We started Alderwood to be part of Santa Cruz community fiber, and to be a staple of the culinary arts in Santa Cruz. We do not support racism, bigotry or prejudice in anyway. We do not support violence in anyway. Our staff and guests are multicultural and always have been. We are trying to heal as a business from an event that escalated last week in Alderwood involving customers and an employee that was dining with us. It is extremely unfortunate that a fight ensued, involving racial verbal abuse and physical violence. After reviewing security footage both parties were found to be at fault and removed. Alderwood’s ownership, management and staff do not condone violence or racism!
- In a statement, Alderwood Restaurant investor Ahmed Hamdy said, “The next morning we met with the employee. He had a few drinks and went out of hand. The two parties appeared to be at fault and the decision was made that both parties are banned from the restaurant.”
- Soon after, at least half the restaurant’s staff of 22 quit their jobs to protest the employee’s firing.
- “It’s just unjustified. They wanted to cut their ties from the situation by letting him go, which ultimately had a major blow-back on them in the public eye,” former employee Evan Maine said. “In today’s social climate we all know no one’s going to stand for that kind of behavior.”
- Social media users condemned Alderwood Restaurant for not siding with their employee, a move many viewed as racist.
- Santa Cruz Mayor Justin Cummings has reportedly reviewed the videos in the case but is still examining what happened.
- “So, if the motive behind assaulting the employee was racially motivated then I would consider that a hate crime,” Cummings said.
- Hamdy said that the restaurant was forced to close soon after for the safety of the remaining staff.
- “We have to think about what’s next and how we can reach out to the community and have a dialogue with the community. We feel we’ve been treated unfairly in this whole situation,” said Hamdy.
- The investigation remains open until further evidence is presented.
Feature Image via KION Central Coast News