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LA MARZOCCO CEO ADDRESSES RACIST REMARKS BY EMPLOYEES

Last Updated on June 15, 2020 by Nick Baskett

UPDATE 15 June 2020: The original allegations were initiated by Alex Gable, an American coffee professional and journalist based in Milan, Italy after the Black Lives Matter events in the US, but were not related. The allegations pointed to systemic racism among several La Marzocco employees and managers that took place before those events.

La Marzocco has a little quiet in the follow-up, but they have to know that this isn’t going to go away. Employment law in Italy makes it very difficult to fire someone without going through a full process, so I can see this taking time.

However, this is not a case of firing a few employees and going back to business as usual. The problem seems to be much deeper in the culture, at least in some parts of the business, and that is going to take a long time and some serious examination from the company into their identity.

Some of the Allegations, originally published by Sprudge – which goes into a lot of detail – refer to an Italian culture mocking the US for their PC attitudes. Regardless of what your opinion is of that, La Marzocco has to consider that their customers are global, they are Korean, Indian, Vietnamese, African, and from everywhere else.

They are free to act as they like, within the law, but their customers are also free, free to buy someone else’s machines. It is my personal opinion that I would prefer they take time if necessary, and make sustainable, genuine, long-term changes.

In the meantime, good and frequent communication is going to be key to their customers who are so disappointed in them right now.

Original Article below:

Today, La Marzocco’s CEO posted on their corporate website a response to remarks made by several La Marzocco employees that were allegedly racist in nature. This appears to be in response to the events going on in the USA related to the murder of George Floyd, a black man killed by police while he was being detained.

La Marzocco CEO, Guido Bernardinelli cites two individuals in particular who may have been affected, Jenn Chen, and Michelle Johnson and offers an apology.

While any final comments must be reserved until the company has completed its investigation, it is positive to see La Marzocco come out and directly address it.

Guido Bernardinelli should be given some credit for not using mealy-mouthed language, but admitting the issue in full, making the company’s position on racism clear and detailing the steps which they are taking, which are specified as:

  • We have opened an internal investigation to determine where issues may exist with the aim to find solutions to ensure any findings are addressed.
  • Evolve policies with actionable and enforceable consequences regarding the conduct and behavior of all global La Marzocco employees.
  • Appoint a high-level committee trained in diversity and inclusion with authority to develop reviews, hiring practices and training for global La Marzocco employees.
  • Implement Diversity and Inclusion training courses at all global locations.
  • Develop an ongoing review of our Diversity and Inclusion actions to ensure we are consistent with our values now and into the future.

Nobody wants to congratulate a company after such an incident, but as far as first responses go, it’s encouraging to see La Marzocco making the internal process transparent.

You can read the full statement here

Written by Nick Baskett

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