«I'm never going back into the restaurant business»
Former Nighthawk Diner employees are not surprised by the claims made by the five employees featured in Inter Universitas’ article. «They definitely tried to squeeze as much out of us as possible,» says Christopher Langston.
Several former employees at The Nighthawk Diner support Lauren Guido and the four other sources in [Inter Universitas' previous article.](1) One of them is Christopher Langston (36) from Canada. He was employed during the initial start-up of the restaurant, working mainly as a waiter from 2010 to 2013 alongside his studies.
«It is hard to get a job in Norway even with moderate Norwegian language skills,» he says. He was grateful for the opportunity provided by the diner, despite the fact that «they definitely didn't have the ‘Norwegian work culture.’»
Read in Norwegian here
We didn't want to ask too many questions.
Lacking knowledge about work rights
Langston thinks it common not to know your working rights in Norway if you come from a country where labour laws are worse. If you have not grown up in a given country, not knowing the culture, language, or rules, it can be hard to know what is legal and not, he points out.
«Many of the employees were just grateful for an income source with vacation pay and healthcare, and didn't want to ask too many questions,» he says.
He told Inter Universitas about an early episode where the management did not want to pay the employees for mandatory staff meetings.
«The owners didn't really seem to care about us. I don't think they are particularly evil people, but I feel like they definitely tried to squeeze as much out of us as possible.»
Polarised work environment
Another former employee, who does not want to be named, says he will never again work in the restaurant industry after his experiences at the diner. He says he did not get the hours or the breaks laid out in his contract.
«My closest leader had neither humility, pride in his work, nor respect for his employees. He harassed me and other employees several times,» he tells Inter Universitas.
Everyone was treated badly, but the foreign workers were undoubtedly overridden.
Anonymous former Nighthawk Diner employee
He characterises the work environment at the Nighthawk diner as polarised.
«Everyone was treated badly, but the foreign workers were undoubtedly overridden,» he says.
According to him, the diner owes him several thousand NOK for missing wages. Struggling with psychological matters, he has not found the strength to contact the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority (Arbeidstilsynet).
The source quit his job at the diner recently and is now working in another business.
«I'm never going back to the restaurant industry after this experience,» he says.
«We are devoted to complying with employer requirements»
Timon Page says the diner fulfils their responsibilities as a place of work. His impression is that this was also the case before he started working there.
«The events referred to here are said to have happened between 2010 – 2013, before I started as a general manager. I have no knowledge of these episodes,» he said.
«On a general note I can say that The Nighthawk Diner is devoted to complying with all employer requirements; paying wages, facilitating breaks, and having a fully responsible and good working environment. As far as I know, this has been the case at The Nighthawk Diner before I started here as well.»
«Regarding the claims about missing information on current work regulations, every new employee receives a Code of Conduct together with their employment contract, describing what they are entitled to,» Page added. «Relevant laws are available in the health and safety folder which is easily accessible for the employees. We also offer free Norwegian classes to our employees for those interested. I am from Canada myself and I am devoted to the welfare of both Norwegian and foreign employees here at the diner.»