Arkansas minimum wage worker fired for talking to the press | Arkansas Blog

Monday, March 30, 2015

Arkansas minimum wage worker fired for talking to the press

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 5:17 PM

Well, this is just awful. 

Shanna Tippen, a minimum wage worker at a Pine Bluff hotel, was fired because she spoke to the Washington Post and told the paper that the state's coming minimum wage hike would help her. 

Chico Harlan of the Post reports

Shanna Tippen was another hourly worker at the bottom of the nation’s economy, looking forward to a 25-cent bump in the Arkansas minimum wage that would make it easier for her to buy diapers for her grandson. When I wrote about her in The Post last month, she said the minimum wage hike would bring her a bit of financial relief, but it wouldn’t lift her above the poverty line.

She called me the other day to say she didn’t get to enjoy the 25-cent hike for long. After the story came out, she says she was fired from her job for talking to the Post.

According to Tippen, she was fired by Days Inn manager Herry Patel

He said I was stupid and dumb for talking to [The Post]. He cussed me and asked me why you wrote the article. I said, ‘Because he’s a reporter; that’s what he does.’ He said it was wrong for me to talk to you.

More background from Harlan:

Patel introduced Tippen to me. During a trip to Pine Bluff, Ark., in mid-January, I went to numerous businesses across town and found Patel in the hotel lobby and introduced myself. There, I interviewed him for several minutes. Patel then suggested I speak with Tippen, who was cleaning up the continental breakfast bar. I interviewed her during her work shift, during a slow afternoon as she manned the front desk.

Several days later, after I’d spent additional time with Tippen, Patel called me and threatened to sue if an article was published. Tippen, though, felt it was important to tell her story; she said many people shared her experience earning the minimum, and she had nothing negative to say about her employer.​

It seems like firing a minimum wage worker is a bad strategy if your concern is p.r. What a rotten thing to do. 

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