• Report: #101930
Complaint Review:

Panera Bread

  • Submitted: Tue, August 03, 2004
  • Updated: Wed, October 26, 2011

  • Reported By:Newport Michigan
Panera Bread
23061 Allen Road Woodhaven, Michigan U.S.A.

Panera Bread Trashes, fires teen-age employee after he complains of verbal abuse Woodhaven Michigan

*UPDATE Employee: I Disagree

*UPDATE Employee: Good Question!

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: What IS exceptable?

*UPDATE Employee: work for panera first...

*Consumer Comment: Re Nancy and Melissa

*Consumer Comment: To Melissa in Orlando

*Consumer Comment: disagree

*Consumer Comment: If your son is mature enough to be employed in today's workforce ...

*Consumer Suggestion: Sorry to Say

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A couple of month's ago my teen-age son was hired by Panera Bread. He was very excited and told me often how much he enjoyed the job. I read their handbook and they claimed they were a good place to work because of the respect they showed for their employees. Soon enough we found out that they have no respect for their employees.

Female employees were referred to as "the bitches" by one of the managers. Then, things got worse. My son was working in the sandwich line in front of customers. It was a hot day, and he asked the female worker next to him what was wrong with the manager. She told him(my son) that she didn't know what was wrong with him(the manager). She then told my son that the manager was probably upset because she had told the manager that he should suck my son's d**k! This female employee thought that making that statement to the manager was funny. My son left the store stunned and later called one of the other managers to explain why he had left work.

Now, logically, you would think that the female employee would get in trouble for making such a remark at work and that the manager she said it to would have done something about the trash mouth female employee. No way! This same manager was the one that referred to the female employees as "bitches" and he did nothing about it. My son registered a complaint with management and Panera started their "trash the victim" nonsense.

My son was immediately suspended from work (that's what happens when you file a complaint at Panera's) and he was told there would be an investigation. The manager who was supposed to run the investigation then took three sick days off. To make a long sickening, story short they ended up firing my son after a week and a half of asking for written and signed reports from him.

Instead of cleaning up their house, they decided to pick on a teen-age boy. Wow! I think they deserve a place in the corporate Hall of Shame. I have told all of my friends, relatives and acquaintances the story (there are many) and I personally will trash them every chance I get.

Newport, Michigan

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/03/2004 11:28 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/panera-bread/woodhaven-michigan-48183/panera-bread-trashes-fires-teen-age-employee-after-he-complains-of-verbal-abuse-woodhaven-101930. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE Employee

I Disagree

AUTHOR: LS224 - ()

More and more of us with college degrees and graduate degrees are now working in the food service industry.  Fortunately, my husband makes three figures, so, while a little extra cash would be nice, I'm not financially dependent on this job.  As more people with higher levels of education take up food service jobs, the expectations for employee behavior will undoubtably begin to improve, as well.

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#2 UPDATE Employee

Good Question!

AUTHOR: LS224 - ()

I have no idea what is "exceptable" because exceptable isn't a word.  How on earth did you make it into a management position when you can't speak proper English?  Now, if you had asked, "What is acceptable?" I may have taken your comment more seriously.  How do you expect your employees to respect you when you do not have the skills necessary to communicate effectively?

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#3 UPDATE EX-employee responds

What IS exceptable?

AUTHOR: JD - (United States of America)

I see the various posts were throughout the last couple years. I read over every paragraph everyone has written so far and I am blown away. It makes me sad to see someone reply and say your son just needed to suck it up...and thats the food business. What kind of disgusting people are you that you think it is ok to be spoken to or about in such a manner? I worked for Panera Bread for 8 months as Assistant Manager and at first I thought I had the best job in the world! I love customer service and talking to people. I won't sit here and complain about the work that was required of me, but of the staff and management and the way the people in that company will treat you! 1st of all, most of the staff would come in high or openly talk about all the drugs they did the night before. As a manager, I don't see this exceptable, but my GM says as long as they do the work, it's not a problem. In interviews, if you were not good looking enough or your skin was a certain color, my GM wouldn't hire you. I was belittled on a daily basis and told I was a piece of s**t manager. (yes I was really told to my face that I was a piece of s**t) She walked on who ever she needed to to get to the top. Eventually I was sexually assulted by a shift manager and when I spoke up about it, the company told me to keep my mouth shut. Then I was told I was expected to work on my days off...I handed in my keys shortly after that. I have never worked for such a nasty, selfish, heartless company before and I have been in the food industry for a few years at that point. I know in every company there are the liars and the snakes...I know everyone talks about each other behind closed doors. But as a manager, I believe there is a time and place for joking and there is always, ALWAYS a positive way to handle things. I agree that your son shouldn't have just walked off the job, but then again, Panera Bread doesn't handle ANYTHING maturely. If they see you as a "issue or problem", they will do anything in their power to push you and push you until you quit or they will look for the dumbest things to fire you about when they do the same everyday. WORST company to work for. So ask yourself, what really IS exceptable inside a company and what IS your self worth?
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#4 UPDATE Employee

work for panera first...

AUTHOR: Anon - (U.S.A.)

Because i am currently in the process of filing a complaint with panera, i do not want to say to much about myself but i worked for them for 9 months so far.
At first, i loved it! they talk about how above the rest they are,
how they are so flexible and just a fun and friendly work environment that does not put up with anything.
we have multiple reviews of the company, its performance and our managers, and they really try to make themselves seem so wonderful.
I have been nothing but completely miserable at this job.
Yes, work is work, you do what you have to. But you do not lower your standards for a job, thats why rules are put into place to keep that inline. It happens, but what kind of world are we promoting if we just turn a blind eye to it. It is that way, ITS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE THAT WAY.
Panera Bread is a dishonest and law breaking company.
My managers do and say whatever they want.
They refuse to own up their mistakes and pawn it onto the slaving employees, especially in front of customers.
They tell us to do anything for the customer,
so i do, then get in trouble, unless the customer is watching, then i get in trouble for asking.
Raises every six months, i got my 10 cents, while all my peers got around 1.00 or more.
I do harder work then half their employees, which they treat better the longer they have been there, giving them one simple task a day, even though jobs are supposed to rotate.
My manager yelled at me for getting a shift covered for my dying grandma and another time for food poisoning.
They under hire, and yell at us for being human.
They make us come to work if were vomitting, coughing up flu germs, and much more, even though were in the food industry.
There is no amount of abuse you should take, no matter what the job.
Panera Bread is an awful company. Hands down.
If you knew someone who worked their, they would agree. Unless they werent doing as well, the busier the panera, the more awful the abuse.
spend your money better. save your 10 dollars for a company who deserves it.
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#5 Consumer Comment

Re Nancy and Melissa

AUTHOR: Davewestny - (U.S.A.)

I have taken an interest in this report because my family owns a restaurant and I've worked in the restaurant industry my whole life.

I really, really, really see no cause for your son to take such issue with what happened. I don't see any reason for him to be personally insulted or offended.

The food service industry is largely populated by high school drop outs, college kids, actors, etc. Most of these people are outspoken, vocal, and occasionally say things that are, yes! out of line but that's just simply the way it is.

I work in a mexican restaurant. I am a white guy and predominantly the other employees are some sort of latino. My first nickname was Muneco which basically means "little doll" like a barbie doll. At the moment I'm called "Trucha" which means trout. like the fish.

It's okay with me. These guys are my friends and co workers and I love them all in spite of some silly nicknames and hazing and all. This sort of thing happens in blue collar gigs. Your son needs to suck it up and realize that there's a certain way things work in certain industries and he just needs to go along with it because it's really not gonna change.

Look I'm not saying that what the female co-worker did and said was "right." It wasn't. She was wrong and she should probably be fired for her comments. I've worked in a management capacity before and I would fire her for saying what she said. But what I AM saying is that there's a certain amount of foul talk, hazing, and BS that comes with that territory and your son needs to be able to deal with that or find another line of work.

And what I'm also saying is that Panera bread is a national company and just because one store in one location handled things poorly is not a reason to hate the whole company. I don't think that's your intention but I want that point to be clear. This is a national company, they have hundreds of locations, and a supposed smirch on one store out of a thousand is not a reason to hate the whole company.
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#6 Consumer Comment

To Melissa in Orlando

AUTHOR: Peter - (U.S.A.)

No one said that the story wasn't "accurate" or that the original poster was "lying." It is clear from the original poster's own words that there are numerous maturity issues at play here, as her son clearly did not handle this issue properly. THAT was the point of the rebuttals.
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#7 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Melissa - (U.S.A.)

to the rebuttalers...you dont' really know the truth of the story so i'd stop assuming that the poster is a liar... assuming the story is accurate....of course panera is in the wrong for doing this, and unfortunately business and hiring practices like this 'do' occur....people are out of line, belligerent, or foul, and it's just not right....that store and it's practices need to be reported in some form, but the sad part is, sometimes corporate just dosen't care to do anything about it and the person is stuck with an unfair situation....I would fight it if it's that important and possible to fight....what they did was just not right....
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#8 Consumer Comment

If your son is mature enough to be employed in today's workforce ...

AUTHOR: Peter - (U.S.A.)


1- He would be writing his own complaint on this message board rather than having mommy do it for him.

2- He would have brought this situation to the manager's attention immediately, rather than running away like a big baby, abandoning his job, and then calling the manager on the phone later.

There is no rip off here. It sounds like your son does not understand how to solve his own problems. Perhaps you could help him learn some of these skills.
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#9 Consumer Suggestion

Sorry to Say

AUTHOR: Davewestny - (U.S.A.)

I have to be honest here... and I have NEVER EVER worked for Panera bread or any company related to it. I have no interest in their success or failure, I'm merely expressing my thoughts based on my experience working in the food service industry.

Your son needs to suck it up and pick his battles. There is no reason, no affront to him, no issue the relates to him taking any issue with this company. I have worked in several industries and for several companies where a certain amount of trash talk happens. You know what? It happens! It happens in every company, in every industry, in every state, in every store. There was nothing said or done that should really impact your son's work. If he's THAT sensative to the simple joking remark made about him then he's going to have very, VERY tough time finding any job in ANY industry. Food service is a rough an' tumble gig. There are a lot of things that happen in this industry that are...let's say less than "PC."


People who work in food service will tell you that there are a lot of things that are said, spoken, acted upon, etc. that really have no meaning.

The manager referring to the female employees as "bitches" IS wildly out of line and he should be disciplined for it if it's true...but in the long run I really have to question your report. If an employee is a good employee, they work hard, pick up extra shifts, and do well... the management is really VERY unlikely to suspend or fire them without any tangible reason.

I think you're an over protective parent that is angry that a store would fire your son and I really think that your kid is probably an average to bad employee and only told you HIS part of the story and you've bought into it because you love your son and you believe whatever he says. It's VERY likely that the reality of the situation has not been spoken about in your home.

I cannot fathom a reality where your son would be fired simply for telling his manager that a co-worker was vile, out of line, and disrespectful.

However... IF this all happened the way you said.. then this store and perhaps the company clearly has some issues it needs to work out regarding its hiring process, investigation, and management.

Still, I don't think this site needs to be bogged down with second-hand complaints from someone who is not the actual employee that has a grievance. Complaints and postings on this site should be reserved for the ACTUAL persons who have the issue with said company and not their friend, father, sister, or mommy.

Either way, Panera is a company with several locations nationwide and I don't think the whole company should be scorned because of the alleged actions of one A-hole manager in one of 1,000 stores.
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