A situation involving a former Gib’s Bar employee blew up yesterday on social media.
A woman using the name Hannah Bea Anna on Facebook posted screenshots of her emails with Gib’s/Grampa’s Pizzeria employee Kym Reindl and owner Gilbert Altschul. Long story short: Her W-2 was returned to sender by the USPS, so Hannah emailed Reindl for another copy to be sent. Reindl replied with a PDF file named “dumb bitch” containing the tax form. Hannah then forwarded the email and pointed out the file name to Altschul, who supported the actions of his employee, telling Hannah to “give it a fucking rest.”
Altschul also asserts that Hannah “burn[ed] bridges” when she left, a claim that Hannah denies on her Facebook post. But even if Hannah had done something to “burn bridges,” nothing excuses an employer in a position of power demeaning and abusing an employee, current or former.
It sounds much more improbable in that scenario, because sending a file with a degrading name would get you instantly fired in any corporate setting. So what’s the difference here? Why does this business, run by Altschul, not have the same common sense rules that other businesses have?
That’s simple: This is the service industry. Treating service industry workers with little respect is the norm for both employers and customers. You’ve all seen it: customers screaming at an apologetic server because the kitchen screwed up an order, bar managers denigrating bartenders for accidentally spilling something, servers crying because the front of house manager is docking dine-and-dash money out of their pay. You can guess what happens behind closed doors.
It’s even worse for women, who typically make up the majority of the customer-facing FOH staff. Female servers are constantly touched by customers, whistled at, told by their bosses to show more cleavage, and held essentially hostage by holding a tip — their main source of income — over their heads. If they don’t happily listen to their customer’s bad pick-up lines and ignore their manager’s sexual harassment, there goes their pay.
In this case, it’s easy to assume that Reindl acted as a rogue employee, but Altschul’s response condoning her actions tells otherwise. If the man at the top allows these types of actions against employees, imagine what current employees must have to face in an organization that applauds this type of degrading and abusive behavior. This is a prime example of employee abuse in the service industry.
After Hannah’s post on Facebook blew up, Gib’s posted an apology on their own page in response to the hundreds of 1-star reviews they were getting. The only way you can see that apology now is through a screenshot, because it’s been deleted along with all the angry responses. I guess they weren’t really apologetic.
Kym Reindl and Gilbert Altschul were both contacted for this article, but as of publishing, neither had responded to my request for comment.
Update: Gib’s Bar has emailed a statement on behalf of Altschul.
— The Bozho (@thebozho) April 9, 2018