IKEA Atlanta apologized Wednesday after an employee lunch celebrating Juneteenth included menu items that were deemed racially insensitive.
Employees told CBS46 the menu items in their building Saturday included fried chicken, watermelon, macaroni and cheese, and collard greens. News of the menu was sent to employees via email the day before, prompting 33 workers to call out sick, employees said.
“It caused a lot of people to be upset,” one employee told the news outlet. “People actually wanted to quit, people weren’t coming back to work.”
The store manager reportedly apologized to employees in an email Saturday and a revised Juneteenth menu including meatloaf, mashed potatoes collard greens, and cornbread was provided the next day.
An IKEA Atlanta spokesperson issued a statement saying the menus were created with good intentions.
“In addition to offering Juneteenth as one of our paid holidays nationally, our IKEA Atlanta store has recognized Juneteenth with our co-workers for the past four years,” the company said. “To honor the day, a lunch menu was created with the best of intentions, including recommendations from Black co-workers. We value our co-workers’ voices and changed the menu after receiving feedback that the foods that were selected are not reflective of the deeply meaningful traditional foods historically served as part of Juneteenth celebrations.
“We got it wrong and we sincerely apologize,” the company said. “We are committed to educating ourselves and putting a process in place that will allow us to thoughtfully honor Juneteenth in the future.”