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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

After Temple Coffee Roasters told employees not to wear masks, CEO steps down

Following backlash, coffee company issues apologies

Before the use of masks was mandated in Yolo County, an email was sent to employees of Temple Coffee Roasters instructing them not to wear masks as it was a violation of the dress code. 

“At this time, Sacramento and Yolo County have not mandated that masks be worn at this time and Temple does not allow the use of masks in our cafes as it violates the dress code,” Office Manager Will Talbot wrote in an email, according to Sacramento News and Review. “If this changes at any point, I will send out an update to our current dress code to all team members via email and Deputy.”

Employees, however, were still able to wear gloves as long as this did not impact “job responsibilities,” according to the email. 

The dress-code policy received an onset of backlash from people across social media platforms. One comment, posted on Reddit, criticized the company’s policy: “To prioritize dress code over public health and the safety of their employees is… problematic.”

Another comment addressed the owners of Temple Coffee directly.

“If Temple Coffee is reading, I’d like them to know that some of us are avoiding stores and restaurants that do not allow employees to cover their face,” another comment read. “I want these hard-working employees to have protections and also believe that it is safer for employees to wear masks.”

Temple Coffee Roasters posted an apology on Facebook and Instagram, accompanied by a photo containing the text: “@everyone, we hear you, and we are making changes.”

“First and foremost, we owe a massive apology to our team members,” the post read. “But an apology is not enough. No apology will take back what has been done, and our company knows we need to do more to make things right and to be the company that our team members deserve. They are, after all, our heartbeat. They keep us going morning to night, seven days a week, 365 days a year. We are changing for the better, and we realize there is a long road ahead to regain trust from them.”

Employees will now be given face coverings to wear while at work, according to the post. 

Furthermore, the company’s CEO Sean Kohmescher has stepped down and will no longer be involved in decision-making according to the post.

“After admitting responsibility and apologizing for the email regarding face coverings to team members, our company founder Sean Kohmescher stepped down from his role as CEO,” the post read. “He will no longer have a say in decisions regarding policies, procedures, and company culture.”

Instead, the previous director of retail operations will take over.

“Effective immediately, our former Director of Retail Operations, Shannon Loudon, will assume her new role as Chief Operating Officer, providing guidance and oversight over all seven cafes as well as our production warehouse,” according to the Facebook post. “While we know this leaves an empty title within our company, this will not leave a gap in leadership.”

Temple Coffee issued another statement on Instagram and Facebook, acknowledging their disappointment in the email that was sent. 

“Over the past 14 years, we have had the privilege to serve our communities thanks to our amazing team members who work to make this a possibility everyday,” the caption read. “The email included misinformation and miscommunications regarding our current health and safety protocols and policies.”

According to the post, the email had not been approved by Temple Operations. 

“We are committed to creating the work environment that our team deserves,” the post read. “Thank you for the continued support of our team members.”

Written by: Shraddha Jhingan — city@theaggie.org 


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