Eileen Rinaldi, owner of San Francisco coffee shop Ritual, made the decision to fire her own husband from the job after he reported using a racial slur during a verbal altercation while managing a construction project.
John Rinaldi, her husband, was involved in a fight over a parking space in which the n-word was exchanged back and forth between he and the fighting party.
Several people of color heard Rinaldi in particular using the slur, leading to Eileen Rinaldi making the choice to fire her own husband from the construction project.
She announced her decision in a statement that was shared to the company's Instagram page.
"Words have power," wrote Rinaldi on Instagram, "and the word he repeated is undoubtedly racist and harmful. To me, it means hate and dehumanization."
"I am thinking about and gutted by the unimaginable pain, anger, and trauma this word has caused throughout history and in every moment a white person uses it."
"I have made mistakes and I'm learning. I am committed to doing the necessary work of continuously evolving how we are an anti-racist, inclusive, and equitable business and place for our employees, customers, and community," she continued.
"And I embrace that this work has no closure. We need to work on it every month and year and for the life of the business."
John Rinaldi told the San Francisco Chroniclethat he otherwise would "never, ever use" the n-word.
"I regret the incident, and feel terrible about it. I am deeply disappointed in myself for meeting hostility with hostility, and allowing the situation to escalate."
Rinaldi, who once ran a joke campaign for mayor of San Francisco and who has come to be known as "Chicken John," has encountered claims about his racial sensitivity before.
Whether or not this will remain a problem with Ritual's brand itself remains to be seen.