Many ex-employees are speaking out against one Vancouver coffee shop — specifically, one of the co-owners of Matchstick. Abuse allegations and actions that some employees felt singled them out as visible minorities are being documented on an Instagram dedicated to telling their stories. Since the reports have come out, the coffee company has issued a statement and said that the co-owner is "stepping away."

Matchstick is a popular and beloved cafe chain in Vancouver, operating five different stores with potentially hundreds of employees across the city. It appears customers didn't get the full picture.

On Sunday, July 5, Instagram account @notourmatchstick began posting first-hand accounts of workers who "survived employment at Matchstick." Most of the posts targeted co-owner and co-founder Spencer Viehweger.

"This person is a bully and their behaviour continues to perpetuate a toxic culture of misogyny, intimidation and silence," reads a post on their account.

By Thursday, July 9, the page had 42 posts by current and former employees and over 1,700 followers.

And on Wednesday, July 8, Matchstick YVR released a statement about the allegations on their Instagram.

"We are upset by the extent of these experiences, and none of us want to work in or further the culture that they point to," they wrote.

"Spencer is stepping away from his in-person roles at Matchstick to make space for the group to process and heal from these events."

Workers spoke out against Viehweger's "disturbing and manipulative behaviour." This included using his faith to "manipulate" Christians to "do better" or "be a light," forcing a baker to come in sick, and firing someone during a phone conversation about a movie.

Narcity has reached out to Matchstick YVR and Inspired HR for comment and we will update this story when we receive a response.

The coffee chain's Glassdoor page had similar complaints, with a rating of 1.5 stars out of five.

"I've faced racism, sexism, and straight up emotional abuse from the owners," wrote one reviewer. "Do not work here if you value your own mental health."

In response to the claims, the company hired third party HR firm Inspired HR to help "make space for our staff to speak up and share their concerns, and to look internally at the state of Matchstick today."

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