A Salt Lake County employee who sent a racist email to the owners of a gourmet salsa business has apologized to the shaken owners, but he will not be losing his job over the incident, ABC 4 News reports.
Last year, Linnaea and Sergio Mendoza started their small business, Salsitas Mendoza. Despite the sputtering economy, the couple enjoyed impressive success, growing their line of seven different salsas and selling them to local stores, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Sergio, a permanent resident in the U.S., grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico where he learned how to mix the spicy sauces. Linnaea, whose background is Italian, said the different traditions helps make their recipes special.
Their business was so successful, the couple decided it was time to stop renting a kitchen at night and build their own. To raise money for the $12,000 commercial hood needed for the kitchen, Linnaea started a Kickstarter page where people can donate money to the effort and her sister posted an ad online promoting the campaign.
While many people supported the couple's efforts, they were shocked to receive this email from county employee Jedd Bogenschutz:
[QUOTE][INDENT]I respond to people in need in this section that really need it. After reading your ad I had to respond and say are you ... f...ing serious?? your ad had to be the most disgusting ad I have ever read, really taking donations so you can finish a kitchen so you south of the borders can get ahead, you can bet I would never buy any of your garbage, I do have some connections, board of health, business license, ect. I will make sure your (sic) on the up and up.[/INDENT]
Linnaea told ABC 4 that she was especially upset by Bogenschutz's use of a government email address to attack her and her husband. "Beyond the racial component, what offends me is he's boasting his position with a state job to threaten my small business," she said.
ABC 4 took Mendoza's case to Bogenschutz's supervisor at the county assessor?s office, Chris Stavros. Stavros told the channel that his employee was exemplary and had worked for the office for 25 years.
On Friday, Jedd Bogenschutz went on camera to offer a public apology, saying he was embarrassed by his actions. "To be honest, not in a million years would I have thought I would have done something so insensitive," he said.
When asked by the ABC reporter why Bogenschutz was being allowed to keep his job, a Salt Lake County Assessor said the incident was an "opportunity for education." He asked for "a little understanding that yes, we do make mistakes," adding that "the punishment I?m giving [Bogenschutz] is in no way, shape or form a slap on the wrist."
If you use your company email and reference your position with your company to harrass someone, should you get the ax, or is that free speech? Does it matter about the company (for example, government vs private?)