NC: Company Shutters Eateries After Manager Quits on Facebook over Work Comp Retaliation Allegations

19 Jul, 2018 Liz Carey

                               

Greensboro, NC (WorkersCompensation.com) – A North Carolina group of restaurants has shuttered its locations after a manager alleged on social media that he was asked to fire an employee over a workers’ compensation claim and to discriminate in hiring employees.

Lentz Ison, the director of operations for Fresh. Local. Good Food Group, resigned Sunday via a letter posted on Facebook. Since then, Morehead Foundry, the location of the restaurant group, has temporarily closed.

Ison wrote on his Facebook post that, “I have been directed to make decisions and take action that are unethical and are not in the best interest of staff/and the community we support. For example, being asked to not hire eligible persons due to race. I have never before been asked to fire someone just because they injured themselves and filed for workers’ (sic) compensation, out of retaliation.”

Morehead Foundry is a restaurant complex that houses Fresh. Local. Good Food Group’s catering kitchen, as well as Four Flocks and Larder, Revolution Burger, the Baker & the Bean, and Hush Speakeasy. 

Lee Comer, owner of the restaurant group, said Ison’s allegations were untrue. According to Triad City Beat, a North Carolina weekly newspaper, Comer said, “his allegations are completely false in terms of the context that he made them. When you look at how many employees I have, there are far more African Americans than whites. My record speaks for itself. I have a very diverse staff, including gay, straight, transgender and Hispanic.” 

Ison and Foundry bar manager Ryan Hill walked out of the restaurant last week when they learned paychecks to lower-level employees were not clearing the bank.

According to Ison, the flurry of activity that led to the walk-out and his resignation started earlier in July when a door slammed on an employee’s finger, shattering the employee’s fingertip.

Ison told CityBeat when the employee filed a workers’ compensation claim, Comer directed him to terminate them. Ison said he felt like the termination was retaliation.

The official reason for the employee’s termination is that he walked out to his car without clocking out.

Comer said Morehead Foundry closed temporarily “for us to reorganize and figure out what our next step is,” according to City Beat. “The closing of the Foundry was something that was in process well before (Ison) made his malicious allegation.”

Several WorkersCompensation.com calls to Comer were disconnected and emails to Comer for comment were not immediately returned by press time.


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    About The Author

    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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