Pinky Cole is serious about maintaining her integrity.
The Slutty Vegan founder and CEO took to Instagram on Wednesday (Jan. 11), to speak out against claims that she withheld wages from an employee.
“Maybe it’s the Caribbean in me, but God won’t bless you when you operate in fraudulent spirit,” wrote Cole. “This week, I was named in a lawsuit for one of my companies, Bar Vegan, alongside my partners, over alleged unpaid wages from one employee. Again, ALLEGED.”
View this post on Instagram
As previously reported by AfroTech, Cole first began selling her famous plant-based burgers out of her apartment in 2018, leaning on Instagram as a method to take orders.
“I’m just a girl from around the way, from East Baltimore – who always was a big dreamer in the house with my grandmother watching ‘Golden Girls.’ And my wildest dream has come true. So, the moment where you ever feel defeated, think of Pinky in the back of your head,” she said during an interview on “Sway in the Morning.” “Pinky, who once upon a time had a dollar in her bank account. Pinky, who lost everything in a grease fire, who car got repoed, who got kicked out of her apartment.”
Since her humble beginnings, Cole has since opened several Slutty Vegan locations across the U.S., with plans to open 10 more by the end of 2023.
The Bar Vegan restaurant named in the suit opened in 2021 by Cole alongside her partners Aaron Mattison and Jason Crain.
According to 11Alive, the claims were filed in an Atlanta federal court on Nov. 11. Since then, two other current or former employees have joined the suit against Bar Vegan and its founders.
They are being accused of paying employees less than minimum wage and taking a portion of their tips.
“Other servers and bartenders, who are similarly situated to Named Plaintiff, are interested in joining this collective action,” read the court documents.
In her post, the Clark Atlanta alum noted that she hadn’t been aware of the claims filed against her and the company until her segment on the TODAY show was canceled.
“Up until this point, I was not familiar with this ordeal or the employee, because I don’t run day to day operations at Bar Vegan,” she explained via Instagram. “The people who know me, know I ONLY operate in integrity, so this is a wicked narrative especially when this is nothing more than an allegation.”
At this time, Cole has been advised by her legal team not to comment on the situation that is at hand. However, she doubled down on not only maintaining her innocence but also fighting to keep her name from being run through the mud.
“At the end of the day, my name means more to me than any money that could EVER go in my bank account — and I will NEVER let anybody destroy that,” she continued.