On Monday, BrewDog fired four furloughed employees from its Indianapolis taproom location. The former employees identify as members of the LGBTQ community and say they were let go as part of a “change in culture,” though the company disputes the accusation. The person responsible for the terminations was also fired this week, and BrewDog has hired an external human relations firm to investigate the matter.
Jordan Dalton, one of the ex-employees, shared their account of the incident on Twitter on Monday, noting that BrewDog is “no longer a safe or inclusive space for women and the gay community.” Dalton also claimed that none of the taproom’s non-male staff members were invited to discussions over when the location would reopen. (The business has been shuttered since December 2020 due to the pandemic.)
Indy ppl please share this on sm, I barely have any followers on insta or fb but today my restaurant fired their woman and non-binary (me) staff, including two trans people. they recently replaced our woman gm and head chef with men and called all of this “a change in culture” pic.twitter.com/TsolxYKM4W
— jorde (@himbocity) March 9, 2021
Erica O’Neill, another of the terminated workers, told local TV station WISH that a new general manager — a man she and her three coworkers had never met — called them “one by one” to inform them that they were being fired “because [BrewDog] wanted a change in culture.”
This week’s incident followed the recent termination of the taproom’s head chef and general manager, with females being replaced by males in both instances, according to O’Neill.
In an email exchange with reporter and VinePair writer-at-large Dave Infante, BrewDog USA CEO Jason Block did not deny the “change in culture” comment, but insisted that the wording “was not sanctioned” by the company.
also via emailed follow up, @BrewDogUSA ceo @jasonblock82 said the "change in culture" statement "was not sanctioned and would not be how we communicate performance issues." he did not dispute someone made the statement in relation to the terminations.
— Dave Infante (@dinfontay) March 10, 2021
In an official statement posted on Wednesday, Block said accusations of discrimination had hit the company hard, and noted that “BrewDog does not tolerate any prejudice and inequality of any kind.”
Block maintains that the employees were fired due to “prior performance issues,” though the company has not yet specified what those issues were.
The former employees say they were never formally notified of previous missteps. In contrast, a combined statement shared on Twitter on Wednesday highlighted accolades that some of them had been recently awarded. Last October, O’Neill won a customer review competition between servers and was awarded a free trip to BrewDog’s headquarters, according to the release.
VinePair reached out to a BrewDog representative on Thursday for comment on the discrepancy. We have not received a response at the time of publishing.