Ku Cha House of Tea (128 S. College Avenue) is facing an unfair labor charge from its former employees over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to The Coloradoan, the charge, which was filed on May 21, asserts that the tea house's owner, Qin Liu, illegally fired the employees after they asked for better coronavirus precautions at the shop.

One of the store's employees, Larson Ross, told the publication Liu closed the business at the end of March due to they stay-at-home order, with plans to reopen on May 1.

However, the employees objected to that date over safety concerns, and Liu pushed back the reopening to May 9.

Despite the date change, Ross said the employees were still concerned about safety, and asked for extra precautions to protect immunocompromised workers.

According to Ross, Liu's wife, Rong Pan, then told the employees that they were free to stop working at the tea house until after the pandemic.

This left Ross and his coworkers confused, as they wanted to be furloughed, not fired. In response, the group later protested outside of tea house after it reopened, calling the incident "an illegal firing."

Liu, on the other hand, told The Coloradoan that the employees refused to come back to work after the shop reopened, leaving him no choice but to hire new employees.

He notified the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) that the former employees were no longer working at the tea house, causing them to lose their unemployment benefits.

However, all of the employees, except for one, have since had their benefits reinstated.

Now, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will investigate the unfair labor charge and make a decision on the allegations in about six weeks.

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