By David Schuman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Former employees are accusing a popular Minneapolis donut shop of discrimination.

A small business relies on word of mouth, but Glam Doll Donuts is getting attention for the wrong reasons. A viral Instagram post from former employee Demaris Johnson shares her experience getting fired from the shop, which she believes was racially motivated.

“It’s not just that we were treated directly differently from our coworkers. It was also that the issues that we have to face being black femmes just didn’t affect our coworkers, and [management] didn’t care that they affected us,” Johnson said.

When an employee tested positive for COVID-19 in September, Johnson wrote in a work chat that it seemed unethical not to close. Shortly after, she was let go for “presenting an attitude of pessimism and creating a toxic work culture.”

“I was the only one who got fired. Nobody else who responded got fired. Just me,” Johnson said.

One of Glam Doll’s owners, Teresa Fox, says simply of the firing that she failed as a leader, and regrets it.

“I overreacted and I should have been more thoughtful in my communication,” Fox said.

Nadirah McGill, Demaris Johnson and Sariah Jackson (credit: CBS)

The store did close a few hours after news of the positive test, and Fox says Johnson was not fired for expressing concern about COVID. She wouldn’t go into personnel details, but said the firing was about the work environment, not Johnson’s race.

“I am changing the way I manage, and it’s just like been an emotional awakening for me,” Fox said.

Two other former employees — Nadirah McGill and Sariah Jackson — agree with Johnson that race is a component in Glam Doll’s workplace.

“It was the most toxic work environment I’ve ever experienced,” McGill said.

“It caused a lot of emotional distress for me and a lot of anger,” Jackson said.

Fox says she apologizes to anyone who’s been hurt. She says the demands of running a business have distracted her from fostering the inclusive culture her employees need.

Since Johnson’s post, more former employees have gone public with their stories. Glam Doll has had at least two meetings with owners and management in the last few days to address workplace concerns.

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David Schuman

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