Chipotle on Monday offered a manager her job back after she was fired for not serving five black men last week, an incident captured in a video thread that went viral.
Dominique Moran, the manager at the Grand Avenue Chipotle in St. Paul, said she had her team’s best interest in mind when she repeatedly refused service to the group of men Thursday night. She was surprised that Chipotle initially fired her and hasn’t decided if she will return to her job with the store.
“I was obviously trying to do the right thing,” Moran said Monday. “I told Chipotle to tell the boys I say sorry. ... I didn’t think I would lose my job, I thought I did something good by standing up for my people.”
Chipotle fired her Friday, saying she did not follow company policy, which says employees should not ask customers to pay for their food before they order it.
On Monday, the day it reversed course, Chipotle said it spent several days reviewing the available evidence.
“While our normal protocol was not followed serving these customers, we publicly apologize to our manager for being put in this position,” the statement said. “We will work to continue to ensure that we support a respectful workplace for our employees and our customers alike.”
In the videos, Masud Ali, 21, says he and his friends were racially stereotyped.
At the beginning of the videos, Moran can be heard telling the men: “You gotta pay because you never have money when you come in here.”
Moran said that her crew members recognized two of the men from a previous night when they allegedly didn’t have money to pay for their food, something she said has happened many other times.
At first, Moran didn’t know she was being recorded by them and regrets using the word “never,” but wanted to make it clear that the group needed to pay this time.
“It was really frightening to be honest,” Moran said. “From our point of view we had five cameras on us.” She said her crew was tired of having to put up with the men and “I think the anger came out of me. I was scared and panicking. I didn’t know what to do so I called the police.”
Ali and his friends could be heard shouting at the workers and a customer who had just received his meal. No customers tried to interfere in the exchange.
The first of several videos, which includes language some may find objectionable, was posted to Twitter, and has been retweeted more than 30,000 times.
One male staff member told the group, “we’re not going to make food unless you guys actually have money.” Meanwhile, other people ordered their food and then paid for it at the end.
“I should have been more clear that they were denied service,” Moran said. “I never meant, ‘show me your money,’ but more like ‘please pay for your food.’ ”
In several other tweets, apparently posted by Ali between 2014 and 2016, he repeatedly joked about dining and dashing from Chipotle and other restaurants. Those tweets have since been deleted.
In a statement Sunday, Chipotle said the company was already aware of Ali’s tweets when it decided to fire the manager.
“Our actions were based on the facts known to us immediately after the incident,” including video footage, social media posts and conversations with the customer, manager and employees.
“We now have additional information which needs to be investigated further,” the statement said. “We want to do the right thing, so after further investigation we will retrain and rehire if the facts warrant it.”
Ali did not respond to messages.
A GoFundMe page for “Dominique Manager From Chipotle” has raised more than $6,000 to “support her through the holidays.”
“Myself and any of Dom’s friends and loved ones know that she loved her job, loves people and did not deserve the unfortunate chain of events that occurred this week,” according to the page. “I don’t feel she deserves to be without pay for protecting her team and I want to fight for her.”