Fredericton business owner resigns amid verbal abuse allegations

The owner of a longtime family business in Fredericton has resigned amid allegations of verbal abuse toward employees.

On Sunday, Seth Chippin confirmed to CBC News he had resigned but had no further comment.

Reports of verbal abuse started being shared online after a review was posted on the market's Facebook page on Friday.

In the review, a customer said she wouldn't return to the market after witnessing how the owner talked to his employees.

Another customer also commented they were in the store when the owner came in and started yelling. 

After seeing the review, Rebecca Webster, a former employee of the market, came forward with her experience.

"It would always be just verbal abuse, like it was just constant yelling, anger, swearing," said Webster. 

Webster started working there in August but quit on Oct. 30. She said she quit following an incident where Chippin threatened to fire her.

"It made me really emotional and I didn't think I could go back," she said.

Webster said other employees had similar experiences.

Nathalie Sturgeon/CBC

"There was one time when me and another girl were on cash serving all these people, and he got angry because there were so many people in line, and he called us useless," she said.

Before his resignation, an apology letter from Chippin was posted on the business's Facebook page.

"On behalf of myself and the entire Chippin family, I would like to sincerely apologize to the customers that have witnessed my actions in our family owned and operated establishment," the letter stated.

He said the social media posts made him aware of his behaviour.

"There is no excuse for the actions, however the added emotions over the last few years from grieving the loss of both my father Mike and cousin/business partner Gordie on top of maintaining the business to its current condition have caused me tremendous stress," he said.

Chippin also apologized to the employees in the letter.

"To the staff that have experienced my distasteful behaviour throughout the years, I am truly sorry," he said. 

"There is no way these actions can be taken back, but I am now aware that my passion for the store and its success has been misinterpreted."

Before his resignation, Chippin said he'd adjust his "approach to engagements with both employees and customers in the future."

Late Sunday night, Chippin released another statement on the store's Facebook page stating that he is stepping away from the business.

He said the business will continue to operate as normal with no other changes.