Two job-seekers warned workers of color to not apply for positions at Birdies Eats and Drink, a California-inspired restaurant in Canada. In a series of posts, TikTok users @cyberpu33y_ and @kainotcenat both accused the restaurant of having racist hiring practices.
In a two-part video series, @cyberpu33y_ said that she attended a seven-hour job training event shortly after getting hired. The orientation, she said, culminated in a one-on-one check-in with the trainer. While the trainer largely gave @cyberpu33y_ positive feedback, she noted that the worker’s appearance needed to be more “polished.” (As of Tuesday morning, her first video had over 451,700 views).
@cyberpu33y_ STORYTIME PART 1 #greenscreen #racism #restaurant #peopleofcolor #blacklivesmatter #birdies #earls #vancouver #foryoupage ♬ original sound – LA REINA MIA 👑
@cyberpu33y_ said that she pressed the trainer on what she meant. The trainer then said that they were referring to the worker’s hair—specifically her “little flyaways.”
“Girl, is you talking about my little curly baby hairs?” the worker asked, confused. “Do you want me to have white girl hair like you?”
The next day, @cyberpu33y_ said that she went to a hospital due to an undisclosed illness. She said that she called and informed Birdies of this. But when she returned for training, the worker said she was pulled aside—within earshot of her fellow trainees—and told that Birdies would not be moving forward with her hiring.
The trainer’s reasoning? @cyberpu33y_ had apparently missed too much training due to her illness, despite the worker claiming that the trainer “literally email[ed] me about what I missed” while she was away.
@cyberpu33y_ said that she brought up the trainer’s initial concern with her hair, but that the trainer assured her that wasn’t the reason for her dismissal. Still, hair discrimination in the workplace—primarily against women of color—is a very real phenomenon. According to a study by The Harvard Business Review, one-fifth of Black women between the ages of 25 and 34 have been sent home from work because of their hair.
In the end, @cyberpu33y_ said that Birdies had “racist behavior” and encouraged people of color to not apply there. And she wasn’t the only one.
@kainotcenat STORY TIME PART 1 #greenscreen #birdieseatsanddrinks #racism #peopleofcolor #birdies #earls ♬ original sound – Ky
In another series of posts, Ky (@kainotcenat) said that she had a similarly bad experience at Birdies. As of Tuesday morning, the first part of her storytime had over 489,000 views.
Ky says that her interview went well and that she later began the company’s onboarding process. Throughout the initial interview, Ky said she was forthright about having no experience in the hospitality industry. Nevertheless, she was told she would be a great fit.
Things went sideways, however, after Ky was asked to attend a company event where she claims there weren’t “any Black people.”
In a second video, Ky said that Birdies ultimately fired her, too, apparently due to her lack of experience and because the company had “overhired.” Ky said that a supervisor also told her that she wasn’t deemed a good fit for the company because she kept to herself—and didn’t drink— at the company event.
And in a third video, Ky said that she has met another person that works as a hostess at Birdies. Like her, they had no prior experience as a hostess. “But did they get fired?” Ky asked sarcastically. “No. The only difference between us was the color of our skin.”
“The racism in Vancouver needs to be called out,” Ky said. “And people need to be held accountable.”
While Birdies website does not explicitly state what level of experience it takes into account for hiring, a current listing for a host position does not mention past experience in the industry as a requirement.
The Daily Dot has reached out to @cyberpu33y_ and @kainotcenat via TikTok comment and to Birdies by email.