Server says her manager called police on Black autistic co-worker for ‘no reason,’ then fired her Silvia Perea Llanos/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘I was literally crying to HR’: Server says her manager called police on Black autistic co-worker for ‘no reason,’ then fired her

"Clock out or call the police is INSANE"


Kahron Spearman


Posted on Jan 20, 2024   Updated on Jan 20, 2024, 5:31 pm CST

In a trending TikTok video with over 610,000 views, user Ruby ( shares a troubling account of an incident at her workplace, a combination coffee shop/restaurant/gourmet wine grocery shop in Los Angeles.

She details the challenges faced by employees, particularly a recent incident involving a manager that called police on a Black co-worker who identifies as autistic. The event highlights issues of discrimination and unfair labor practices.

Despite, as she notes, being owned by some of LA’s wealthiest restaurateurs, the coffee shop has been cutting full-time employees’ hours and terminating shifts abruptly. Numerous TikTokers have identified the location as Cookbook Market in the Larchmont area, though it has yet to be confirmed. Ruby refuses to confirm the location, but did tag numerous celebrities, indicating the famous nature of her workplace. #losangelesrestaurants #wrongfultermination #serverlife #baristalife #fyp #unemployment #larchmont ♬ original sound – ruby from rudie

Ruby emotionally recounts, “They’ve been cutting full-time employees down to 20 hours a week… they’ve been cutting people midway through their shift, which sucks because people can’t pay their rent.” She said because of the cut in hours, she “was literally crying to HR.”

The recent situation escalated on Martin Luther King Day, as described by Ruby: “So, yesterday, on MLK Day, it was really busy… one of my co-workers was cut midway through her shift. She’s Black, and she’s on the autism spectrum. She didn’t leave right away, because they were so slammed. She was helping bag groceries and make copies, or whatever.” Despite her co-worker’s efforts to assist during the rush, management’s response was severe.

Ruby explains the management’s reaction, “They told her that she had to clock out, or they were going to call the police. So she did clock out, and then she’s going around the store and saying goodbye to people… So, because she’s refusing to leave the premises, our manager calls the police on her.” The decision to call the police and the subsequent firing of the employee for filming the encounter raises serious concerns about discrimination and the treatment of employees with disabilities.

“Clock out or call the police is INSANE,” wrote one commenter.

“LA-based employment lawyer here,” said another person. “Echoing what others have said about filing with the EEOC right away. There is a statute of limitations to file.”

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal agency enforcing laws against workplace discrimination. It helps people who have faced discrimination at work based on race, gender, disability, and other protected characteristics. By filing a complaint, affected employees can seek justice and remediation for discriminatory practices in their workplace.

Ruby’s video serves as a plea for help and guidance: “This is why I’m talking to TikTok because we don’t really know what to do… But if anyone out there on the internet has any resources for discrimination lawsuits, or her finding out what her rights are, anybody has any resources, please, please.” The video highlights the need for awareness around the rights of employees, especially those from marginalized groups, and calls for action against unjust workplace practices.

The video also details the double-hazard of calling the police, almost as technical service, to dispose of Black people, even employees.

@grilledcheeseunicorn96 #stitch with @ruby from rudie Lemme tell y’all a story… #losangeles #larchmont #foodservice #racism #customerservice #wrongfultermination ♬ original sound – That Unicorn Bitch

In a follow-up video released by the fired Black woman—going by @grilledcheeseunicorn96 on TikTok—she provides her perspective on the Los Angeles coffee shop incident. The footage, rapidly gaining traction on TikTok, features her expressing gratitude for the outpouring of support and advice she has received. She, too, does not confirm the location, but says, “Hello, it is me, the allegedly fired employee… I see all your messages and, support and suggestions, and I love it. Thank you so much.”

She cautiously addresses the situation, noting her reluctance to speak too specifically without legal advice: “I don’t want to speak too specifically on what happened as I haven’t talked to lawyers… these things did happen, and it’s been so ridiculous, uncalled for and unnecessary.”

The employee also shares her identity as a Black, queer, autistic woman and talks about the challenges of adjusting to life in LA. “I just moved to LA. I didn’t expect any of this,” she explains. She invites further support for her professional endeavors as a stylist and creative director: “If you would like to further support me, I am a stylist and a creative director… now I have a lot more time on my hands for those things.”

Her resilience in seeking justice and her openness in seeking community support paint a picture of someone determined to overcome a challenging situation. She concludes her message with heartfelt appreciation: “Thank you, guys. Seriously, seriously, from the bottom of my heart… you guys are so kind.”

“Hr lady here! Good job!” exclaimed a commenter. “Don’t say anything publicly. Keep all records! You are so smart! You’ve got this! Shop your lawyers. You don’t have to go with the first one. Go to the EEOC. You may even have a labor and industry claim.”

Another person noted: “Reach out to your Assemblymember or state senator. They can help expedite your unemployment case. Your former employer will challenge the unemployment.”

The story is a stark reminder of the ongoing struggles faced by many in the workforce, particularly those marginalized. It underscores the importance of understanding and advocating for employees’ rights and the need for workplaces to foster inclusive and fair environments.

The Daily Dot contacted Cookbook Market LA via email, as well as @grilledcheeseunicorn96 and via TikTok for comment.

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*First Published: Jan 20, 2024, 7:00 pm CST