A boba shop worker has gone viral after sharing an interaction with his manager after he closed the store for 30 minutes to take a break.
In the state of California, where TikTok user Gerardo (@gerard.0) was employed, employees “must receive an unpaid, 30-minute lunch or meal break if they work more than 5 hours in a day. The meal break must begin before the end of the fifth hour of the workday. Employees who work more than ten (10) hours during a day are entitled to a second 30-minute meal break,” explains Shouse Labor Law Group.
Gerardo says that he and his co-worker closed the store so they could take the break to which they’re legally entitled, leaving a sign on the door indicating that they would return in 30 minutes. At this time, the manager allegedly came in to reprimand Gerardo, which is when he started recording.
The video of the interaction currently has over 935,000 views.
@gerard.0 When your manager has been harassing the only two gay workers over the course of a month and he tries to find any reason to fire you 🙄🙄 Backstory: It was literally nonstop people coming in and nonstop people calling to place orders and you and your co worker haven’t taken your breaks so you close the store for 30 min so you can take your lunch breaks!! #crazymanager #fired #boba ♬ original sound – Gerard.0
In the video, Gerardo argues with the manager, who fires him. When the manager says that one employee should have remained working while the other is on break, Gerardo notes that one employee cannot perform the required work alone.
In a follow-up, Gerardo provided further context about the situation.
@gerard.0 After all the harassment, disrespect and hostility I definitely was not going to be breaking my back and stressing over a rush that literally was non stop and decided that we deserve to take our mandated breaks regardless what anyone is commenting or saying. I forgot to mention we previously had a good relationship bc I knew him prior to him managing this place. Funny thing is that me and my other con workers taught him everything he knew and had the nerve to act this way towards me. Karma got her kiss 😘 Alexa, play Karma by Taylor Swift! #karma #storytime ♬ Karma – Taylor Swift
Gerardo explains that he had been working at this boba shop for about three years. While he says the previous management was alright, everything changed when new management arrived.
“[The manager] was mistreating his employees. He was very aggressive, very rude, very just shitty all around,” Gerardo claims. He also alleges that he and his coworker, who are both gay, faced worse treatment than other employees, causing Gerardo to suspect that some homophobia may be at play.
Regarding the video, Gerardo says it was a particularly busy day at the shop. After serving customers for several hours, he and his coworker decided to take their legally allowed break, which necessitated closing the store. Gerardo says that the manager created the schedule and would know that this would likely occur.
Despite this, the closing of the store clearly aggravated the manager, who showed up to the store to confront the two employees.
Gerardo alleges that other labor violations also happened on the job, including forcibly clocking him out before his scheduled end time and sending his final paycheck over a week after his firing, another violation of California law. The law states that the employee must receive their last paycheck within 72 hours.
Commenters noted that adequately staffing the business is the responsibility of management.
“As a manager, he should’ve have been covering your guys breaks instead of leaving you guys hanging then getting mad that y’all took your breaks,” wrote one user.
“He as a manager should have been responsible for the store while you guys took your break,” agreed another. “good job for recording and standing your ground!”
Other users said that the firing was short-sighted.
“Hold up. He’d rather fire the only 2 workers and CLOSE DOWN… than let them close for 30min to take a legally required break,” questioned a commenter.
The manager apparently agreed with this, attempting to schedule Gerardo for work after his firing. Gerardo declined.
Now, users are encouraging Gerardo to pursue legal action.
“File a complaint you can sue them also let unemployment know you weren’t given breaks,” advised a commenter.
“On it,” Gerardo responded.
The Daily Dot reached out to Gerardo and the store via Instagram direct message.