Elose Arestil is a soft-spoken mother of 2 who came to America to live the American dream and to provide for her family. She raises her 17 year old son Sheldo by herself in Miami and took a job as a dishwasher at the Capital Grille in Brickell, Miami to support her family. Little did she know, that they would give her so much work, that even 3 people would be tired after completing it at the end of the day. She was also shocked that they would clock her out while she was still working, so that in effect, she was sometimes working for free. She didn’t understand why they made fun of her accent and the fact that she was from Haiti. She didn’t understand why the chef was mean to her and ignored her when she had a question. She didn’t understand why she would get shouted at so often. What sort of restaurant would do that to its employees? Surely not one that prided itself on its congenial and family like atmosphere.
Elose certainly didn’t understand why the Capital Grille treated her soo poorly even though she worked her hardest for them. And she certainly didn’t foresee that after getting injured on the job, she would be told that she was no longer needed. The Capital Grille did not pay for her medical bills, they did not call her with concern and send her a get-well soon card and flowers, they didn’t tell her to take time off and come back when she was recovered. They told her that she no longer had a job. And to add insult to injury, they then told unemployment that she left voluntarily and after one measly check for $172, Elose wasn’t able to get unemployment either. And did the Capital Grille care? No!
Elose’s story is just one of hundreds that can be heard from many different Capital Grille employees from all over the country. You can read more about our national campaign at the official campaign website. One of the workers featured on the site, is our very own Elose Arestil and you can watch a video of her here.
Many of us hear and read stories like Elose’s and shake our heads in disgust. However, now we need to do more than just shake our head. We need to support our workers and ourselves and work and fight for change.
The Restaurant Opportunities Center of Miami, also known as ROC-Miami, is a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of restaurant workers throughout the State of Florida. As one of 9 affiliates of ROC-United, we are part of a movement to change the lives of restaurant workers all over the country.
We are actively working on many different and positive campaigns and activities to help change the industry and have currently taken on industry leader Darden. We have found out, that Darden, the high profit corporation that owns Olive Garden, Capital Grille, Red Lobster, Bahama Breeze and more, has been discriminating against their employees and been engaging in many other illegal and disgusting behaviors, including but not limited to: wage theft, verbal abuse, firing people after they got hurt on the job, forcing people to come to work sick and not promoting people of color to the better paying jobs in the restaurant. We were disgusted to hear so many stories of blatant discrimination from workers all over the country that we knew that we had to get involved and help provide a voice for these workers so that they could speak out and change the policies that were so blatantly making their lives miseries.
If you want to support our Dignity at Darden campaign, please like our petition and share this story with as many people as possible. We want to make sure that all workers at Darden restaurants are treated with dignity and respect.