Not My Stella's campaigner 'extremely encouraged' by firing of restaurant chain's vice-president

A member of the "Not My Stella's" campaign is praising Stella's Café and Bakery after its owners fired one of the company's prominent executives.

Restaurant chain drops vice-president of operations Grant Anderson

Grant Anderson, the vice-president of operations at Stella's Café and Bakery, has been fired. (Lyza Sale/CBC)

A member of the "Not My Stella's" campaign is praising Stella's Café and Bakery after its owners fired one of the company's top executives.

Owners Tore Sohlberg and Lehla Abreder announced Wednesday evening in a social media post that a review by People First HR Services supports the decision to "release" vice-president of operations Grant Anderson from employment at the Winnipeg restaurant chain.

Anderson is also no longer working at the Exchange District restaurant Kevin's, which is owned by Sohlberg and Abreder.

"The whole Not My Stella's collective was extremely encouraged by this news," said Christina Hajjar, a former Stella's employee who has been one of the spokespeople for the group.

The removal of Anderson and regional manager Brad Burrows was one of steps the group called for.

Hajjar, 27, was fired from Stella's in 2017 after working at the chain's Osborne Street location for a year. She said she was fired after asking questions about her schedule and work environment. 

The Not My Stella's social media account she helped create features allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault and unfair labour practices at Stella's.

Hajjar and fellow organizer Amanda ​Murdock, also a former Stella's employee, allege a toxic work environment festered at the restaurant chain under Anderson's leadership.

"Our position has always been that this was a top-down issue," Murdock said on Thursday. 

Christina Hajjar, 27, left, Kelsey Wade, 22, and Amanda Murdock, 36, right, say there's a toxic work environment at Stella's cafés in Winnipeg. (Warren Kay/CBC)

Anderson's firing "demonstrates that the company is following through on their promises of accountability," Murdock said.

Anderson did not respond to CBC's requests for a response.

Murdock alleges while she worked as a manager at Stella's on Sherbrook Street, she dealt with harassment, including an instance of non-consensual touching, as well as a demotion for taking sick leave during her pregnancy.

Not My Stella's continues to push for three outstanding demands. The group is still calling for the dismissal of Burrows, who is currently on leave from Stella's, as well as the creation of a human resources department and mental health supports for employees.

Murdock and Hajjar are not calling for customers to boycott Stella's. They say cutting down traffic to the business could put jobs in jeopardy.

Stella's owners announced Grant Anderson has been let go in the wake of workplace harassment allegations. The group behind #NotMyStellas is praising the firing of the former executive. 2:05

About the Author

Laura Glowacki

Reporter

Laura Glowacki is a reporter based in Winnipeg. Before moving to Manitoba in 2015, she worked as an associate producer for CBC's Metro Morning in Toronto. Find her on Twitter @glowackiCBC and reach her by email at laura.glowacki@cbc.ca.