Manitoba

2nd Stella's executive fired after harassment allegations surfaced in 'Not My Stella's' campaign

The owners of Stella's Café and Bakery say they have decided to let go of regional manager Brad Burrows, who was on leave after allegations of widespread workplace harassment toward past and current employees surfaced on social media.

Regional manager Brad Burrows 'released' after 3rd-party review completed: Winnipeg restaurant chain owners

The owners of Stella's say they have decided to 'release' regional manager Brad Burrows from his position, about one month after allegations of widespread workplace harassment surfaced on social media. (Ron Boileau/Radio-Canada)

The owners of Stella's Café and Bakery say they have fired regional manager Brad Burrows, who was on leave after allegations of widespread workplace harassment toward past and current employees at the Winnipeg restaurant chain surfaced on social media. 

The announcement comes just over a week after the company said it had decided to fire Grant Anderson, who was vice-president of operations with the chain.

The removal of Anderson and Burrows from their positions was among the demands issued by the "Not My Stella's" campaign, which brought the troubling allegations to light. Both executives were put on leave last month.

The owners of Stella's, Tore Sohlberg and Lehla Abreder, announced in an emailed update Saturday that they had "released" Burrows following the completion of a third-party review of Stella's practices and policies by People First HR Services. 

Left to right: Christina Hajjar, Kelsey Wade and Amanda Murdock, who helped create the Not My Stella's campaign, at a Nov. 10 news conference. The campaign called for the removal of two executives, both of whom have now been fired by the chain. (Warren Kay/CBC)

The news release said Stella's will make "operational and policy changes," including establishing a human resources department and training program, now that the review of the business is complete. 

Sohlberg and Abreder said in the release the review found their business had insufficient training in leadership and operational policies, and inconsistent, decentralized communications.

As well, the review found Stella's needed clearer guidelines on breaks, shift trading and "tipping out" —  a common practice in which servers pay into a pool that managers then distribute to non-tip-receiving staff.

The review also found the chain needed an enhanced and well-defined process for handling confidential complaints. 

To address these issues, the owners say they plan to take a number of steps, including establishing the HR department, which will report directly to them. It will be responsible for improving communications and training, they said.

Centralized employee communications, regular training on policies and procedures for managers, and "establishing an employee culture committee that liaises directly with the owners of the company" were also promised.

The review took about four weeks to complete, and involved reviewing existing documentation, interactions with current employees, interviews with former employees and respectful workplace training for managers and staff.

As well, confidential 24-hour voicemail and email contacts were created for current and former staff to provide feedback, the owners said.

Read the statement from Stella's:

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