The story made the rounds in francophone media circles but otherwise slipped under the radar. Magnan, the venerable, blue-collar Point St. Charles tavern, let go waitress and manager Isabelle Chabot on August 29. No explicit reasons for the dismissal were provided at the time.
When word got out that Chabot was suffering from ovarian cancer, the story took a David vs Goliath turn. Magnan's management was vociferously called out in La Presse and Le Journal de Montréal, and, with echoes of Paula Deen, the restaurant was attacked on Facebook and Twitter. Even the Teamsters got in on the act.
Keenly aware that it had a public relations shitstorm on its hands, Magnan issued a press release (in French) over a week ago. The gist:
Carole Magnan, owner of Magnan, and Alain Gauthier, CEO , wish to publicly offer their apologies to Isabelle Chabot.
"I had a telephone conversation with Isabelle Chabot this morning, during which I suggested a meeting as soon as possible. I'm still waiting for her answer and hope she will follow up," said Carole Magnan.
The company's CEO and husband of Mrs. Magnan said he fully regrets the way he announced Isabelle Chabot's layoff. "I hope that Isabelle found the inner strength to forgive the way we announced her dismissal. We were well-intentioned, we did not want to contribute to her stress, but quite the opposite happened, obviously, and we understand her confusion," said Mr. Gauthier
The press communiqué went on to explain that while the restaurant finally gave Chabot a detailed explanation about why she was let go, it would not be making that information public.
· Magnan offre ses excuses [Newswire]
· Magnan: désolé pour ton cancer, t'es congédiée [La Presse]
· Magnan [Official Site]