Charlene Davis, Founders Commons manager and employee of Mills College for 26 years was recently fired by Bon Appetit, the new campus food vendor.
She is one of many people who have either been laid off or quit this school year.
Davis, who began her employment with Mills in 1981, was “involuntarily terminated” due to “violation of the company’s Hostile Work Environment Policy,” according to an April 22 memo. The memo also states the Davis was seen “yelling, grabbing and pulling an employee.”
According to Davis, she called a meeting of employees at Founders Commons on April 13 and raised her voice and touched an employee to gain order in the “noisy” environment of Founders.
She was then suspended from work two days later on April 15th.
“I was supposedly yelling and screaming and pushing and shoving this employee. And that didn’t happen,” Davis said.
The layoff has come as a shock to the Mills Community. Senior Paula Tejeda initiated a letter writing campaign on Davis’ behalf against Bon Appetit, a corporation she views as “outdated.”
ASMC responded to Tejeda’s complaints. They are in the process of meeting with Mills community members and Bon Appetit’s management to discuss the corporation’s policies.
“This would be a good opportunity to present a petition for better treatment of food service staff, more accountability and transparency,” ASMC President Alex Widmann said in an April 29th e-mail.
Davis maintains that Bon Appetit has framed her as “violent” even though she has never been written up for a violent incident at Mills in her 26 years of employment.
“I thought it was harsh,” Davis said.
Tejeda and Davis both say that employees of Mills and Bon Appetit are being cowed into silence on the subject. Davis says many of the employees do not speak English and fear for their jobs.
“They [employees] called me and told me they wanted to support me, but they were afraid and they didn’t know how,” Davis said.
When asked to comment on Davis, David Wilson, the Mills College manager for Bon Appetit, said, “I can’t make any comments on Charlene Davis at this time.”
Davis remains mystified. “I am not sure who made the call,” she said. “But if I made a mistake, I wasn’t aware of it.”