CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Whether people have been in Charlotte for a few months or many years, they have probably been to Amelie’s French Bakery and Cafe. So many people love it for the pastries, the sandwiches and the drinks.
But Saturday, some employees took a stand against the beloved cafe. They accused Amelie’s of discriminating against them.
Outside of Amelie’s NoDa location, former employees shared stories of working for the company. They said the discrimination they faced was persistent through all of Amelie’s locations in Charlotte and Atlanta.
“I constantly watched people I trained here promoted while I was constantly given a reason why I couldn’t be promoted,” former employee Saminah Chapman said.
“I wanted to be here to validate what they are saying to share in the labor of holding Amelie’s accountable,” another employee said.
Employees shared how the discrimination they encountered impacted them financially and emotionally.
“It was sad to me that the place I once loved so much had treated me so poorly and created an environment that was so toxic to everyone that wasn’t white,” Chapman said.
On top of the discrimination claims, they also said Amelie’s made false claims about financially supporting groups that fight racism.
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Protesters demanded that Amelie’s change its practices, pay employees more and donate 10% of their profits to the community groups they claimed to support.
“I still have hope that Amelie’s can be better, and I hope they hear our stories and make real changes inside their environment,” Chapman said.
Channel 9 received a response from Amelie’s CEO, Frank Reed. He said many of the claims against the cafe happened six years ago under different owners and management.
“We have a lot of work to do. We’ve let too many things go unchecked and unaddressed, and we will no longer be complicit and complacent,” Reed said.
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