27 May Combatting Harassment in the Workplace
Over the past few days, a number of Wormtown employees have shared stories or posts on Instagram describing instances of harassing and discriminatory behaviors by various members of our organization. What we read was disturbing and heartbreaking.
As you know, when we first heard of allegations of harassment at other breweries, we asked Katrina Shabo to lead a committee to make recommendations on improving workplace culture. The committee had two substantive meetings and from their insights we are actively engaged in improving our policies and procedures and taking stock of what immediate corrective actions need to be made.
Below are specific systemic actions we are working on, and will continue to work on, regarding workplace harassment and discrimination:
- We will thoroughly investigate the alleged activities and take corrective disciplinary action with any individual reported to us to have engaged in unacceptable conduct in the workplace.
- Please know that this has already happened. Investigations of allegations are being undertaken.
- We are reviewing and updating our company policies and procedures based on the thoughtful recommendations from our brewery family members and in concert with best business practices.
- We will be implementing mandatory diversity, equity and inclusion training for all employees, and enhanced leadership training for all persons in a supervisory role
- We are evaluating and will implement various internal and external HR options to better serve our employees
With just four employees a short time ago, Wormtown Brewery has grown to more than 60 people. While great for our business and the career opportunities it created, our business structure has not kept pace. So in addition to the steps above, the ownership group has made the decision to step back from any day-to-day or direct involvement in the operation of the brewery, with the exception of Co-Founder Ben Roesch, who will continue his role as an employee of Wormtown. We intend to create an advisory Board comprised of a diverse and inclusive group, with the right skillsets to help us steer the business, by filling experience gaps, improving innovation, instilling better management practices and overall strategic guidance. More on this as we have information to share.
Wormtown Brewery is successful because of our passionate and committed team. That any member of our team may have experienced the harassing and discriminatory behaviors described, is not acceptable. While there is work to do, we know a critical first step is to make room to listen and learn, and in turn, to provide support in the most helpful ways we can.
You are an amazing team. We thank you for your incredible work and the dedication you bring to Wormtown every day.