Responding to allegations that Four Barrel Coffee founder Jeremey Tooker sexually harassed and assaulted eight former employees, company co-owners Jodi Geren and Tal Mor have revealed a plan to transfer all ownership of their company to employees and rename the company The Tide.
After The San Francisco Chronicle broke news of a discrimination lawsuit against Tooker and the company on Friday, Geren and Mor issued an apology over the weekend, explaining that Tooker had already stepped down as CEO of Four Barrel in November and agreed to divest his remaining ownership in the company. Now Geren and Mor say they will give Tooker’s shares, which amount to 50% of the company, to their employees, eventually doing the same with their own stake.
“[As] we stabilize the business as peer-owners and diversify our staff’s skills to fully manage the company, we’ll make increasing shares available for our own remaining ownership until we’ve completely divested from the business and the new entity is 100% employee owned,” Geren and Mor write. Meanwhile, they plead with wholesale customers and cafe patrons, many of whom have publicly condemned or parted ways with Four Barrel, to maintain their relationship with the coffee company. Le Marais, for example, will no longer sell Four Barrel Coffee, while retailers as far as Strange Matter Coffee in Lansing, Michigan have announced the same.
In their initial apology, Mor and Geren wrote that “Four Barrel will not tolerate inappropriate behavior in the workplace.” But according to the lawsuit, when they were made aware of the accusations against Tooker, they discouraged employees from taking action or “creating drama.” Complicating their attempt to make reparations, many of the employees who allege wrongdoing left the company before the lawsuit.