I'm posting in regards to local business Locale Cafe & Bar, located at 33-02 34th Ave. I'm trying to expose the owner, a man named Johnny, for grossly unfair employee treatment practices by spreading the word about what happened to my partner, Dylan Thomas Riley, when he worked there earlier this summer.
Dylan was doing great at Locale, but on his fifth week there, he got really sick. He asked to have someone cover his shifts two days in a row, but no one was available or willing to cover for him. The restaurant told him he had to come in and work. He did, and they ended up sending him home early both days because he was visibly ill and in a great deal of pain.
On his last shift that week, they fired him, citing that the other employees had been complaining that he was asking them to cover shifts and getting sent home early. The manager, Nermin, told Dylan that the owner, Johnny, thought it was "unfair to the other employees," so they were going to have to "let him go."
So first of all, WOW. Really?? People get sick; they shouldn't be forced to work in spite of it and then fired for it.
Subsequently, Dylan was actually hospitalized for nine days for the same illness that got him fired. The illness escalated partially due to the stress of losing his job.
I called Locale to ask them to draft a letter of termination to help Dylan get both health and unemployment benefits while he recovered and searched for a position that was more compatible with his health condition. I was told by manager Nermin that it would be no problem. A few days later, I went in to collect the letter, and was then told that the owner, Johnny, didn't want to issue it because it might increase the restaurant's insurance if Dylan got any kind of benefits.
Needless to say, I was absolutely livid.
In spite of all this, Dylan applied for unemployment benefits, was found to be eligible, and everything was going along fine until yesterday (Friday, September 6th.)
His unemployment money didn't come through this week. When he called to find out what was going on, he was told that Locale is protesting his benefits, claiming they didn't fire him, but only put him on a "leave of absence."
Locale didn't call once to see if he was okay or if he could return to work. In fact, the owner, Johnny, verbally stated to me that he had no intention of ever re-hiring Dylan, and actually became quite hostile with me, yelling and making threats, when I asked him why he was refusing to give me a letter of termination after very clearly firing Dylan.
We will be filing a complaint with the NYC Commission On Human Rights, and we will stop at nothing to make sure everyone knows how this business treats its employees.
If you support fair treatment of employees, please help us. Let Locale know that you will not be supporting them until they withdraw their protest of Dylan's benefits. An email to your Astoria friends, a Yelp review, a Facebook post tagging Locale Astoria, or even just telling your friends verbally about this situation would do a lot to negatively affect their business until they choose to do the right thing. You can also email them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call them at 718-729-9080.
Please help us win this battle against a greedy, heartless restaurant owner. Dylan is now dealing with a genetic, lifelong condition that limits the kind of work he can do without compromising his health, and unemployment insurance is the only option we have to get him through this time of job-searching. The fact that Locale is trying to stop him from getting benefits is shocking, outrageous, and shameful. They must be shown that the people of Astoria won't stand for businesses that treat their employees this way.
Thank you for your time and support,