Barista fired over alleged racism, verbal abuse despite ‘outstanding delivery in KPI’: Hub Coffee Roasters

Coconuts KL
·2-min read

The owner of a coffee chain in Kuala Lumpur announced today that he has fired the employee who was accused of directing a racial insult at a new staff member.

Nicholas Tay, who owns the Hub Coffee Roasters chain, said this in an apology published in the wake of criticisms towards a senior employee known as Joey, who was accused of verbally abusing ex-newcomer Melissa Wathan at the Damansara outlet, even saying the words “Indian useless” when responding to a customer in front of her. Tay, who originally seemed hesitant to take action over the incident until this afternoon, said that his best performing employee had been dismissed.

“First and foremost, I would like to extend an unequivocal, unconditional, and unreserved apology to Melissa,” Tay’s statement said. “By now, I realised that there are things that must not be tolerated, oppressive behaviours.”

“Which is why, despite her outstanding delivery in KPI, we have decided to dismiss Joey,” he added. He did not reveal more information about Joey’s identity or how long she had worked there.

Before the apology went up, Tay appeared to be defending his business as well as Joey’s actions in social media comments. One of them said: “There is no right or wrong. At least Joey will say sorry.”

Wathan, who was of Indian descent, had been working for the coffee chain at least since October, when she was stationed at the Taman Overseas Union outlet. She was moved to the Damansara store in February before quitting last week, and opened up about the alleged verbal abuse yesterday.

She claimed that Joey had called her “brainless, worthless, and fucking lazy,” in the guise of on-the-job training and also said, “mana adalah (no such thing), Indian useless” when a customer asked whether the cafe’s owner was of Indian descent. According to Wathan, Joey then turned to Wathan to tell her that she was not the target of her remark, but it was too little too late.

Wathan also described herself feeling “humiliated and degraded” and recounted being “continuously yelled at” even after reporting her superior’s behavior.

“I never understood how verbal abuse and racism affected someone until it happened to me,” she wrote on Instagram, adding: “As weeks passed, I became more and more a victim of verbal abuse.”

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This article, Barista fired over alleged racism, verbal abuse despite ‘outstanding delivery in KPI’: Hub Coffee Roasters, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.