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Our Anti-Racism Plan

A note from Mo Jessa, President, Earls Restaurants

On the evening of June 11th, the following letter was shared with all of our Earls Partners across the US and Canada. Everyone in our organization received this letter, from part-time employees to our salaried leadership teams and Head Office staff. In our efforts to maintain full transparency of our anti-racism work within our company, we are making this letter publicly available to you, our guests. We are holding ourselves accountable to our teams as well as to the Earls family outside of our organization. These everlasting commitments will forever change our way of being – all for the better.


Hello Earls Family,

For the last three weeks, our world has engaged in a long-overdue revolution to recognize the value of Black lives. Over the last 400 years, since the first ship carrying stolen souls came from the shores of Africa to the Americas, Black people have been treated with malice, harm, violence and aggression. This horrific mistreatment started with slavery, evolved through The Reconstruction, re-intensified through the Jim Crow era and continued through the Civil Rights movement into today, where police brutality and mass incarceration plague Black communities. Every time Black people rise up and make progress, white culture finds a way to knock Black folks back down, and often, to make them pay — not just with their pocketbooks, but all too often, with their lives. It is a disgusting, disgraceful legacy.

It is time for this persecution to stop, once and for all. This includes within our own organization.

At Earls, we like to pride ourselves on being a people-first organization. We aim to create community leaders, and foster an ‘It’s Your Business” mentality that encourages every employee to be their best. And while we have been good at these goals in some respects, we have some very serious work to do in order to eliminate bias, elevate Black and BIPOC leadership and to create an environment that makes everyone feel like they truly belong.

This is a movement, not a moment. Creating lasting change and a culture of anti-racism and anti-discrimination will require a life-long commitment from all of us. We are deeply committed to this culture shift and are ready to dig in and do some serious work.

Today, we are going to share with you our first Anti-Racism Actionable Commitments. These five initiatives are by no means the only initiatives we are pursuing — they are simply the first. The reason we are calling these commitments “Actionable” is because we believe the best apology is changed behaviour, and talk is cheap. It is time for us to take action.

A few things to note:

  • Each Actionable Commitment has a follow-up date where we will update all of you with specific details regarding progress. We believe in accountability and transparency.
  • While these are our first Actionable Commitments, they are the first of many to come. We believe this is a movement, not a moment.
  • Some details within each Actionable Commitment are still being determined. However, we felt it is important that all of you, our valued people, know what we have planned, which is why we’re communicating these now.
  • We are sharing these details with you, our valued partners, first. Shortly after you receive this message, our Anti-Racism Actionable Commitments will be posted on our website so that our communities and guests are also privy to who and what we are committing to. As mentioned above, accountability and transparency are very important to us.
  • While this letter is focused on Black lives, we also recognize that we have work to do supporting our POC and LGBTQ+ partners, and will be supporting anti-discrimination across the organization as a whole.


Earls' Anti-Racism Actionable Commitments




Every employee at Earls, from our kitchen and front of house partners all the way to our executive leaders, is trained on how to dismantle racism from customer to customer, customer to employee, employee to employee, and with suppliers. The foundation of this work will be Bias training.


  • The Training Team is putting together Anti-Racism Bias Training for every level of Earls with expertise from a new consulting company - Launching Fall of 2020 (Lead: Rob Craig)
  • This is not a one-time training — this commitment will become part of the ethos of our company and will live on as an evergreen commitment.*
  • This will cover a variety of topics, including Cognitive Bias, Unconscious Bias, and other forms of biases and beliefs. Bias training will be conducted by a third party consultant (with experience in D&I work) in order to ensure that training is as effective as possible.
  • In addition to how our internal teams operate, this training will also include how we handle biases and conversations with guests and suppliers - Launching July 15th (Lead: Ann Topp)
  • Our Training + Development materials will be reviewed and created from the lens of diversity, inclusion and belonging - By end of 2020 (Lead: Rob Craig)
  • Our Recruitment and Hiring policies including Hiring Awesome will be revised and elevated to ensure that every applicant who applies is evaluated with equality and fairness by every hiring manager - Update provided by August 15th (Lead: Tomelise Stefan)
  • Micro-Aggression Education - Update coming on Friday, July 24th (Lead: Alexis Sheridan)
  • Glossary of Terms regarding Anti-Racism - Provided by July 15th (Lead: Alexis Sheridan) 
  • Respectful Workplace will be reviewed and revised to emphasize Anti-Racism - Update provided by August 15th (Lead: Suman Dhaliwal)




Listening within an echo chamber is what perpetuates and recreates harmful, exclusive environments. We are committing to Anti-Racism Active Listening in order to HEAR what our people and communities need (not to tell them what we think is needed).


  • The Active Listening measures listed below will be the main way we determine our future Anti-Racism initiatives at Earls

  • We believe that Listening and not Telling is the key to transformation and genuine impact

  • We will conduct fully-compensated focus groups with our teams in every store to hear where our gaps and opportunities are

  • Note: if partners do not feel safe expressing their thoughts within these focus groups or privately to their managers, they can email with the FULL commitment that any and all feedback will be treated with respect, safety and care. We understand that trust must be earned and that not every environment may feel safe.

  • Surveys will be conducted in order to learn about how we can support people and what culture changes are needed


For details on what these entail, please refer to July 9th edition of The Dish.




The Anti-Racism Incubator Project is a seed fund that partners and leaders can apply for in order to create their own anti-racism projects that serve to elevate their stores and communities.


  • Partners and Leaders will put together a proposal and apply for funds that will support the project they are proposing
  • In order to apply, please state the “why” behind your proposal, “how” you will deliver it and “what” the desired result is
  • Project must specifically be focused on anti-racism and anti-discrimination work
  • No financial ROI is required whatsoever. The only requirement is that it focuses on anti-racism work, within your store and/or community
  • Approach this opportunity with the same “It’s Your Business” entrepreneurial mindset that you would with any project. Whatever you want this to be is completely up to you
  • The amount of money dispersed will depend on the scale and requirements of your proposal

How to apply:

  • Applications are now being accepted until 12:00pm PST on August 6, 2020.
  • Be sure to follow the criteria guide and submit your applications to
  • For more details on this opportunity, please review our dedicated project page on MyEarls.
  • Any questions, email Rob Craig directly.




The Anti-Racism & Inclusivity Advisory Board’s purpose is to be the voice for our BIPOC and/or our partners of underrepresented groups to create an inclusive environment for all. The Board will be tasked with the responsibility to listen to the needs of partners, advise the Executive and People Operations team, and provide recommendations and feedback on Anti-Racism and Inclusivity commitments and initiatives.


  • The Board will be organized to ensure representation by a diverse group of partners with different ethnic/cultural backgrounds, gender identity, sexual orientation, upbringing and experience. A majority to 100% of the Advisory Board will consist of Black partners, Indigenous partners, and partners of colour, and will feature equitable LGBTQ+ representation.
  • See this attachment for specific details regarding the Earls Anti-Racism & Inclusivity Advisory Board and the application process.
  • Submit your application to Craig Blize & Suman Dhaliwal by Wednesday, July 22.
  • Candidates will be assessed and shortlisted based on the factors described above; and no more than 30 candidates will be shortlisted. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed between Wednesday, July 15 and Thursday, July 30.
  • Board members will be selected by Friday, July 31.




We are compensating and providing automatic time off to every US employee this November 2020 so they can vote in the federal election.


  • At Earls, we believe that exercising democratic rights is a fundamental right of every employee and it is up to each of us to help solve the issues of police brutality, oppression and mass incarceration
  • It is a sad fact that many members of the Black, Latinx, Indigenous and POC communities are unable to vote due to voter suppression, being unable to get time off work, or not being able to afford time off
  • We want to make sure that every US partner and leader at Earls who wants to vote has the opportunity to do so this November in the federal election
  • Specific details on how this will be facilitated to come (will likely be done in shifts so that the restaurants are still fully staffed on voting day)
  • Leaders and partners will receive 3 full hours of pay in order to go and vote (details on specific compensation to come)
  • An update on this initiative will be shared by COO Craig Blize on Monday, July 27th at 12:00pm PST




Earls has massive buying power — and with great power comes great responsibility. We are creating an anti-racism charter to ensure that every supplier and partner we work with is equally committed to anti-racism in their own businesses and operations.


  • Because of our massive buying power, we have a responsibility to leverage this power to elevate industries and to ensure that we are working with partners who are committed to ethical treatment and anti-racism within their own organizations
  • This charter will inform how we select, commit and re-sign with partners in our communities
  • An update on details re: our Anti-Racism Supplier Charter will come on August 15th from our Chief Supply Chain Officer, Claudia Vorlaufer


As we mentioned above, these Anti-Racism Actionable Commitments are the first of many that we will be implementing at Earls. If you have any ideas, suggestions or feedback you would like to share now, there is no better time. We are here and we are listening. 

I implore all of you to join me in the #BlackLivesMatter movement — it is one of the greatest humanitarian missions of our lifetimes, and there is a lot of work to be done. I look forward to seeing all of you beside me in solidarity.



Mo Jessa

President, Earls Kitchen + Bar

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