Earlier this week, West Coast Grocery Co. fired head brewer Owen Woods for sexually harassing a fellow employee. As Brewpublic and New School Beer first reported, server Sarah de Noyo posted on Instagram New Year’s Eve about an incident that happened on December 30 in which she says Woods “asked her to show him (her) boobs” while she was trying to close up the restaurant and brewery. When she reported the incident to management, the company decided to suspend Woods for a week and force him to take a sexual misconduct seminar.
Over the weekend, de Noyo posted her frustration on Instagram after hearing about the company’s decision, writing that the event was “not an isolated incident” and that he “repeatedly and aggressively asked to see my body and blamed me for my negative reactions.”
Soon afterward, Facebook users began posting negative reviews and comments on the brewpub’s page, directly referencing the inappropriate comment.
On January 6, the company publicly apologized to de Noyo, saying the co-owners “take full responsibility for maintaining a positive work environment culture and ensuring that this does not happen again.” Then, on January 8, brewpub co-owner Charlie Hyde IV made another statement to Brewpublic in which he announces the firing.
“We issued Owen a week’s suspension without pay while taking a mandatory sexual harassment class. I met with my family (the other owners of WCG) and managers this weekend and we made the decision yesterday that the only course of action was termination,” the statement reads. “While Owen was remorseful and promised to never cross that line again, sexual harassment has no place at WCG and we collectively felt that a suspension wasn’t enough.”
It’s unclear what this means so far, but de Noyo posted on her Instagram today that some sort of reconciliation has occurred between the former employee and the company. “Things with @westcoastgrocerycompany have leveled out,” she writes in a Instagram story caption. “I’ll be sharing the full story on the resolution soon. But know that Charlie is taking HUGE steps to change things on a massive scale.”
West Coast Grocery Company opened last year in the Buckman neighborhood, serving house-brewed beer and deli fare. Stay tuned for more updates on the resolution, and what’s next for the restaurant and de Noyo.
• West Coast Grocery Company [Official]
• West Coast Grocery Company [Facebook]
• Sexual Harassment Misconduct Hits West Coast Grocery Co. [Brewpublic]
• Sarah de Noyo’s Instagram story [Instagram]
Update, January 10, 2019, 3:35 p.m.: This story has been updated to include information about a reconciliation between de Noyo and West Coast Grocery Company.