A brazen cafe supervisor has been branded ‘Britain’s worst boss’ after saying a job candidate’s ‘poor work ethic’ was down to her being British.
Job applicant Victoria Atkins, 22, applied for a role at Intenso Espresso in Hove, East Sussex, and went for a trial shift after passing the interview stage.
But, when she was unable to make her shift due to bad weather, Victoria claims she was sent a series of ‘rude’ messages from Jullian Preston-Powers.
Jullian, who claims to have a ‘supervisory role’ at the cafe and is married to the owner, slammed her no-show, claiming a ‘poor work ethic… is highly synonymous with being British’.
The businessman went on to state that staff ‘cannot ever call in sick’ and that he would dock wages from a previous shift if they did so without a doctor’s note.
He went on to champion one staff member who hadn’t had a day off in three years because that was normal for ‘thin, healthy people who don’t eat bacon’.
Victoria said she was ‘very, very offended’ and branded his statements about British workers ‘nasty’.
However, when approached for comment, Jullian defended and reiterated his stance that the ‘very poorest type of employee is a British one, full stop’.
The Trades Union Congress slammed his actions and defended British workers, who they claim ‘put in some of the longest hours in Europe’.
Victoria, from Brighton, East Sussex, said: "He is very rude and nasty.
"I felt disgusted in his expectations and it just goes to show how he’s not an understanding, professional business owner at all.
"I’d had a really bad morning and just asked if I could rebook the trial shift.
"I’d taken the bus and left plenty of time, but due to delays I soon realised I would be late.
"By this time I was soaking wet because the bus only went half way, and my friend lives on the same road as the cafe so I went there to shower and dry off.
"I was already a couple of hours late so asked if I could go at a later date, which is when he said no.
"Don’t get me wrong, I understand why he didn’t let me just do another shift, but his comments about British people having no work ethic were shocking."
Victoria claims the member of staff who interviewed her had been polite and ‘really lovely’ and even offered her a trial shift, however she felt ‘very, very offended’ by the comments made by Jullian.
His responses to her texts left her feeling that she was ‘grateful’ he showed ‘who he really is’ before she accepted a job.
Victoria said: "[The member of staff] was really lovely and after the interview she asked me to come back for a trial shift the next day.
"I feel sorry for the staff if they’re going into work ill because they’re scared of losing pay.
"I’ve worked in the food and drinks industry for years and used to be a barista at [popular coffee chain] and trained as a maestro. I also took management courses.
"I had plenty of experience and knew how to do the job well.
"When he made the comment about eating bacon, I was very, very offended.
"I never even met him and I’m happy as a size 10. He wasn’t even at my job interview.
"It’s like saying all British people are fat when especially in Brighton, we are known for lots of vegans."
In his message, Jullian wrote: "Sorry you are having a stressful morning. It’s probably better you did not succeed in getting the job because you can never be late for or miss work at our business. Ever.
"You cannot ever even call in sick as that is not allowed.
"Literally, you have to be at work as scheduled with us and if you do not, you get a whole day’s wages from your previous shift docked and then are sacked if it happens just once again.
"We are British, but generally cannot ever manage to hire British due to poor work ethics."
When Victoria replied saying ‘how dare’ he be rude to her because she is British and that he was an ‘awful business owner’, Jullian carried on in further messages.
His second message read: "Not because you are British, because you managed to show poor work ethic before even getting a job – which is HIGHLY synonymous with being British!
"[OMITTED] is perfectly happy and has been with us into her third year now. She has a well paying job and has never, not once, called in sick."
Victoria responded: "Well it’s not normal to never be sick in the space of three years. Maybe she is spreading her germs about the cafe haha og well I’m done now good luck to you."
Jullian then said: "Yes, it is normal for thin, healthy people who don’t eat bacon."
Victoria wrote back: "I’m not fat, thank you. I’m very happy with my body."
In response to allegations made by Victoria, Jullian stood by his belief that British people have poor work ethic and claims ‘every single’ British person he has employed in the past has had issues.
He said his business’ experience was that ‘the work ethic of Brits are inferior to those of from Eastern Europe’.
Jullian said: "Our experience of running a small, private, family-run coffee shop in Hove is that the very poorest type of employee is a British one. Full stop.
"The last candidate you want to take on – and we try ardently to hire everyone – is British.
"It is true, comprehensively, that every single one of the British employees that we’ve had will call in and have some issues, or be late. Be very different employee to have.
"But when you have someone who comes from a country where there are no jobs and appreciate they have a job, they work every single hour.
"It’s just a preference and making it very clear and being honest about what genre of people have the best work ethic.
"We don’t not employ British people, the business employs three British people. We’re British and we hire British people."
In his text messages to Victoria, he also claimed he would dock the pay of an employee’s previous shift if they call in sick without a doctor’s note.
He admits he operates ‘outside of the legal position’ to ensure the business is not affected.
Jullian said: "The legal position is that you can self-certify, but we work outside of that.
"We specifically use policies that are beneficial to small businesses.
"We have a policy that if you don’t show up for work, for whatever reason, the entire previous shift will be docked from your wages, unless you can provide a doctor’s note to prove you’re too sick to work.
"What British people do specifically is they really take advantage of the fact they have a benefit system and they’re not motivated to earn money.
"If you were someone who was to have your day off and the manager calls you up to say ‘I’m very sorry, [someone] didn’t turn up for work. The shop’s still closed – can you go in’, what we do for that person is pay them double pay.
"If someone worked eight hours the day before then doesn’t show up for work, their previous shift pays for the double pay for the other person, because why should the business have to pay for that?
"Statistically if you there were ever such an analysis drawn across people’s backgrounds and where they were from, there would be a massive spike in British absences unfortunately."
In his final message, Jullian mentions that one of his employees had managed three years without a sick day because she ‘doesn’t eat bacon’.
He claims this was in response to her new diet and that she was ‘thin’ – but admitted he’d never met Victoria in person and made ‘no judgemental condescension as to her weight or diet’.
Jullian said: "I’ve had hundreds of messages of support coming through.
"We just recently employed a British man who is 35 years old who has been working in the coffee business for many, many years.
"[An employee] and I had a meeting this morning – this woman [Victoria] has caused hundreds of people to put negative reviews all over TripAdvisor, Facebook and Googl , so it’s been quite detrimental to the business."
A TUC spokesperson said: "If he’s looking for the title of Britain’s Worst Boss, it sounds like he’s going about it the right way.
"It’s illegal to discriminate against job applicants based on their ethnicity. And profiteering from staff illness by docking their wages is very likely illegal too.
"Britain’s workers have a very strong work ethic. They put in some of the longest hours in Europe and billions of pounds worth of unpaid overtime each year."
In 2008, the outspoken businessman told a 16-year-old member of staff to quit smoking or she’d be fired – and successfully helped her kick the habit.
Cafe management have also referred to three ex-staff members as having ‘the mental acruity of an apple’ on TripAdvisor.
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