SAN FRANCISCO—On July 10, the popular coffee chain Philz Coffee laid off 181 workers via email. This happened after workers for Philz Coffee protested; one of their complaints was that Philz does not provide enough safety precautions amid the pandemic. Founded by Phil Jaber in San Francisco, Philz Coffee now has 59 locations across Southern California, Illinois, and the East Coast. 

Last month in June, workers for Philz reported multiple complaints to workplace safety regulatory board OSHA, claiming that mask wearing and social distancing were not being enforced. Other workers reported that there was tension surrounding the company’s longstanding agreement to give discounted coffee to police officers. As a result, more than 100 employees organized protests and staff have posted anti-Philz leaflets across San Francisco.

A anti-Philz flyer in downtown San Francisco. Photo courtesy of Twitter user @beccacamping_

Many have also taken to social media to publish their critiques and complaints about the chain. 

Part of the unsigned email from the company to the workers reads:

“With the longevity of the pandemic, and its impact, uncertain, it is unrealistic that Philz will be able to bring all furloughed Team Members back, and that continuing furlough status would only hold individuals back from pursuing other opportunities. As a result, we can no longer avoid the decision to move forward with layoffs. If you are receiving this communication, you have been impacted. This year has been filled with difficult decision but this is one of the most difficult. This decision was not made lightly and we are extremely thankful for what each and every one of you have contributed to Philz.”

Philz has also discontinued all discounts, including those for police. Philz now offers free shipping for delivery orders, and most stores only offer mobile only pick-up.