Knoxville Juice Bar owner denies allegation of misconduct
A former employee at the Turkey Creek I Love Juice Bar location said she and other staff members submitted resignation letters after being asked to wear "suggestive t-shirts."
"Very insinuative t-shirts were handed out as new uniform," said Hawkins in the post. "We were told we could use our bodies for more tips, and to ultimately get him more money."
The owner of the Juice Bar said the accusations are not true. Hein Pham said shirts that show the outline of a woman's torso next to the words "squeeze me" are a misprint, and that he never distributed the shirts to employees.
"It's very offensive," said Pham. "The white shirts were a promotional product that were never given out and were misordered and misdesigned way back in April and it was thrown into a box at the Turkey Creek store. We opened the box and realized it and took it away... I would have never passed it out. I wouldn't let my wife wear it. I wouldn't wear it."
Pham said he had problems with some staff members from the time he bought the store. He said they did not like him because of new rules he put in place and because he is a minority.
"The problem we had was there was a group of employees at the store, when we bought the store on May 15th, who refused to give us the key to the shop," said Pham.
A statement from the company says that I Love Juice Bar couldn't find any evidence of wrongdoing.
The statement read, "Harassment is absolutely not tolerated at I Love Juice Bar, which is why our team launched a prompt and thorough investigation into these claims, including interviews with a number of staff members present at the team meeting. We were unable to find conclusive evidence of wrongdoing. Crew member safety, health, and happiness are still our top priority."
In a lengthy Instagram post that has garnered hundreds of likes, Ashely Hawkins explains a team meeting in which she says the employees were "verbally assaulted."
Hawkins alleged that no actions were taken by the company after the employee had been repeatedly reported to HR.
Another former employee, Caroline Bolen told a similar story on Instagram. "So, @ilovejuicebar, I would like to ask, is this t-shirt what you want representing your company? Are these men who you want representing your company? This is not a gender issue. This is a societal issue, an entitlement issue that is perpetuated because corporations refuse to acknowledge it," she said. "I refuse to be treated less than."
Both women say that every employee at their location sent in resignation letters over the issue.