Stellas managers placed on leave

Two Stellas employees are taking an indefinite leave of absence from the Manitoba restaurant chain.

The company is also offering an apology and says its addressing serious and upsetting allegations.

Stellas made the announcement five days after a group of people who say they are former workers posted their stories on social media claiming a toxic work environment.

They say theyve received more than 200 accounts of the work environment, everything from sexual harassment to unethical work practices.

This included a public apology, compensation for mental health services, and the creation of an HR firm inside the company.

We are deeply sorry for the difficult circumstances and we regret and apologize to all those who are hurting, it said.

That effective Monday, its VP of Operations Grant Anderson and Regional Manager Brad Burrows will take indefinite leaves of absence from Stellas, to ensure the integrity of the independent investigation process.

And Stellas will provide enhanced respectful workplace training and policy roll-out to all staff and management.

Stellas says it also issued a message to all staff and managers advising an HR consulting firm will handle investigations into complaints.

"Stellas is committed to ensuring the integrity of independent, confidential third-party investigations into serious and upsetting allegations and complaints being circulated in our community about our restaurant operations," the statement said.

Not My Stellas werent making themselves available for interviews and directed CTV News to their Instagram page.

Stellas said it closed its Sherbrook location for a staff meeting Monday and it will be closed tomorrow.

The chain is also encouraging anyone with allegations or complaints to submit them to the Manitoba Human Rights Commission and/or Manitoba Employment Standards.

Stellas said its committed to restoring the trust and confidence of staff, customers and the community and will do everything to create a respectful and safe work environment.

The Manitoba Restaurant and Foodservices Association told CTV News Monday these types of human resources and human rights issues are outside of its scope, but the association does work to make the industry better.

It said Stellas is not a member of the association and the allegations are not reflective of every operation.

Two Stellas employees are taking an indefinite leave of absence from the Manitoba restaurant chain and the company is also offering an apology and says its addressing serious and upsetting allegations.

Stella’s location at 1463 Pembina Hwy. Two managers at therestaurant chainhave been placed on indefinite leaves of absence following accusations the company has been engaging in labour and human rights violations.

Stella’s location at 1463 Pembina Hwy. Two managers at therestaurant chainhave been placed on indefinite leaves of absence following accusations the company has been engaging in labour and human rights violations.

Two top managers at the popular local restaurant chain Stella’s have been placed on indefinite leaves of absence following a flood of accusations that the company has been engaging in labour and human rights violations for years.

CEO Grant Anderson and regional manager Brad Burrows were both removed from their positions Monday, according to a letter signed by the owners and sent to employees and the media.

“We are deeply sorry for the difficult circumstances and we regret and apologize to all those who are hurting,” wrote Stella’s owners Tore Sohlberg and Lehla Abreder.

“Stella’s is committed to ensuring the integrity of independent, confidential third-party investigation into serious and upsetting allegations and complaints being circulated in our community about our restaurant operations.”

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Two top managers at the popular local restaurant chain Stella’s have been placed on indefinite leaves of absence following a flood of accusations that the company has been engaging in labour and human rights violations for years.

CEO Grant Anderson and regional manager Brad Burrows were both removed from their positions Monday, according to a letter signed by the owners and sent to employees and the media.

"We are deeply sorry for the difficult circumstances and we regret and apologize to all those who are hurting," wrote Stella’s owners Tore Sohlberg and Lehla Abreder.

"Stella’s is committed to ensuring the integrity of independent, confidential third-party investigation into serious and upsetting allegations and complaints being circulated in our community about our restaurant operations."

Anderson and Burrows were frequently named on an Instagram account called @notmystellas that has been posting complaints alleging misconduct ranging from labour violations to sexual assault.

That account — which has shared hundreds of personal stories — is being run by 12 current and former employees who have been involved in organizing a push back against Stella’s business practices.

The flurry of accusations was set off by a personal story posted by Christina Hajjar on the one-year anniversary of her firing from the restaurant chain. After she shared her own experience, others quickly stepped forward with similar accounts.

The group behind the Instagram account has alleged that the working conditions at Stella’s were so abusive that the owners should be held responsible for funding mental health services for current and former employees in need.

Instead, in the letter sent to staff Monday, the owners suggested employees struggling with mental health concerns should seek free treatment at Klinic Community Health Centre.

Sara Barsky, a spokesperson for the group, said that amounted to a slap in the face, pointing out that Klinic is an already overburdened community resource. "We are appalled by that suggestion," Barsky said.

In a written statement, the group said that while it is encouraged by the latest response from Stella’s ownership, it isn’t convinced there will be proper follow through to address the damage that has been done.

The group also said indefinite leaves of absence for Anderson and Burrows will not suffice and that both need to be fired. In addition, the group again called for Stella’s ownership to fund mental health services for past and present employees.

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On Monday, the owners also announced that People First HR Consultants has been hired to investigate all complaints and to develop better respectful workplace training and policy.

"We have asked all Stella’s staff and managers to direct complaints and concerns through the confidential process outlined in a letter to them," the owners wrote.

The owners also suggested that current or former employees with concerns should report them to the Manitoba Human Rights Commission or Manitoba Employment Standards.

The letter announced that the restaurant’s Sherbrook Street location closed as of 3 p.m. Monday and would remain closed through Tuesday for company meetings. The other Stella’s locations remain open.

Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.