“They did feel that [the owner] brought the priest to intimidate them,” said the lead investigator.

Think your work environment is unhealthy? Well, take solace in the fact that the employees of California taquería might have it worse than you. 

Taquería Garibaldi in Sacramento is facing scrutiny after employees claimed the owner brought a priest into the restaurant who pressured employees to confess their sins – particularly their "workplace sins" – during a wider investigation into the business's sketchy ethical practices.  

Forgive Me Father

According to the allegations, the priest's visit began in a somewhat innocent manner. The owner announced that he had invited a priest as a benefit to all the restaurant's Catholic workers. 

However, when the employees found themselves one-on-one with the priest, that's when things got weird. “I found the conversation to be strange and unlike normal confessions,” said Maria Parra, a former server. 

Instead of allowing Parra to confess to whatever was on her mind, as is typical during a confession, the priest told her that he needed to ask specific questions to “get the sins out of me,” she wrote.

“He asked if I ever got pulled over for speeding, if I drank alcohol, or if I had stolen anything. The priest mostly had work-related questions, which I thought was strange. The priest asked if I had stolen anything at work, if I was late to my employment, if I did anything to harm my employer, and if I had any intention towards my employment,” Parra said.

Priestly Persuasion

Based on these reports, it seems clear the priest was not there to provide any kind of spiritual guidance – but rather to pressure employees to admit to breaking workplace conduct rules. 

Why would the owners want to do that? Well, it turns out the taquería was under a separate investigation for wage theft. The prevailing theory among employees: that the owner was trying to pressure them into refusing to aid the investigation. 

“They did feel that [the owner] brought the priest to intimidate them,” said the lead investigator. 

That investigation is still ongoing, so what discipline (if any) the restaurant will face is yet to be determined.

What are your thoughts? 

58 comments

  1. Colleen McAllister's Avatar Colleen McAllister

    The restaurant owner clearly stepped way past ethical boundaries. He should be reprimanded by whoever is over these types of situations.

  1. Najah P Tamargo's Avatar Najah P Tamargo

    Minster Najah Tamargo USA

    Well, I guess I wouldn't be working there because I am not Catholic! Speaking simply from a business stand point, I think that employer should be cited for "work place harassment"! Just because they are being investigated is no excuse to use a priest to browbeat the staff. And even though I am not Catholic, I find that insulting the church. Are they loaning out priests as under cover investigators now? Shame on them and I think, if I worked there, I'd call for a massive walk out!

  1. Pamela Kay Waters's Avatar Pamela Kay Waters

    This is TOTALLY WRONG. You are at work or school religion is not a part or your job nor is political stuff

    1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

      As Christopher Hitchens showed, religion poisons everything.

    2. Joseph Knopick's Avatar Joseph Knopick

      It depends on the job honestly, if you work at a church, church school, religious book shop, bible camp, there can be exceptions. However, this is violation of labor rights and id encourage the staff to quit

  1. Joseph Knopick's Avatar Joseph Knopick

    The priest should be brought up on ecclesiastical charges.

    1. Paul Edward Nunis's Avatar Paul Edward Nunis

      What 'priest'?

  1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

    I might be tempted to let the restaurant skate if the restaurant owner was willing to model confession first.

    As Christopher Hitchens has shown, religion poisons everything.

  1. Gary Leu's Avatar Gary Leu

    I keep wondering if this “priest” was actually legit. With any ordination and subsequent ministerial activities should also come with some ethical behaviors.

  1. Michael Holland's Avatar Michael Holland

    Sounds like the priest was an informant for the employer ! Jus sayin!

  1. Cindy L Edgar's Avatar Cindy L Edgar

    That goes against your constitutional rights and it's illegal to do that at work place or even out of school for that matter boy people are dumb and ignorant

    1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      yes you are ignorant. SCOTUS has already ruled that you can have religious meetings ON school property before school and after school. The Court's 6-3 decision in Carson v. Makin clearly states that even religious schools are able to use state tax funds and that states can't exclude religious schools from public funding just because they are religious. And need I remind you about the football coach who prayed on his own and the school fired him and then the SCOTUS not only ordered them to rehire him but to make him whole meaning that he was to receive all promotions and pay raises just like he was never gone? Or the flagpole decision that allows religious groups to meet at the school flagpole before school even on school property. or Widmar v. Vincent,1 the Court held that allowing student religious groups equal access to a public college’s facilities would further a secular purpose, would not constitute an impermissible benefit to religion, and would pose little hazard of entanglement. Subsequently, the Court held that these principles apply to public secondary schools as well as to institutions of higher learning.

      Guess it shows that you dont know half of what you think you do

      1. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

        Daniel, this is about a restaurant, not a school...

        1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

          I know, and I was just showing you how wrong the person I was replying to was as Cindy first said a school. And to show how dumb and ignorant her statement was (her words not mine) all she has to do is look to Religious schools or businesses run by religious people to see that its THEIR school/business and THEY make the rules as nobody is forcing you to work there. Now what they cannot force you to do is accept their religion nor convert to work there but you MUST follow all the other rules they have. No more no less.

      2. Monica Lynn Arteaga's Avatar Monica Lynn Arteaga

        Daniel, re-read the entire article slowly… nothing about a school but rather a fake priest in a restaurant trying to get confessions from workers.

        1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

          Ok how about you re read Cindys original post and the re-read my post S L O W L Y and you will see that your mouth started working long before your brain kicked in

  1. Jake Reynolds's Avatar Jake Reynolds

    Forgive me fadder for I have singed the patties and boiled in oil da fries, weerdness in kalifornia is as stoopid as it gets on da left coast, from Vancouver to Diego.

  1. Wilberta M. Berry's Avatar Wilberta M. Berry

    This article is so crazy on so many levels I can't give a logical comment. It's truly astounding how these religious freaks have co opted their rendition of the Bible. Good thing God never created religion which these ludicrous actions prove.

  1. Wilberta M. Berry's Avatar Wilberta M. Berry

    On second thought I say let the employees spend their paid working hours in confession and collect their pay checks. I think the owner will stop that nonsense quickly.

  1. Joseph Knopick's Avatar Joseph Knopick

    The Restaurant owner is not their minister or priest. There is no protection under the veil.

    It is a place of employment and not a place for healing of the soul.

    This would be a violation of labor rights

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    Well, being as sin is a human Christian construct, why should it matter what a restaurant wants it’s employees to do? Just askin’ for Pagan, and Hindu, friends of mine. 🤷🏼

    🦁❤️

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    THIS IS A LIE, AND NOT THE FULL STORY - HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH RELIGION. The restaurant owners failed to pay 35 employees $140K in overtime pay. So the restaurant owner brought in a FAKE priest to coaxing employees into confessing their sins of stealing food, supplies, and lying on their time cards to overtime hours. The owner thought he could use God and religion to say the employees are liars and thieves.

    But there’s more to this story. This story has been twisted or spun in social media and main stream press to make it look like this is another silly Christians doing something idiotic. It’s been turned into an attack against Christians and the Christian religion making them look stupid. And if you look on social media it’s working. People, like here are attacking the Christians for overstepping.

    It is a good restaurant…. Questions is would you still eat here after all of this? The restaurant owner is a Christian and a thief who stole money/wages from the employees.

    1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      Really? And nowhere in it does it make the claim that you are doing now

      1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

        @Daniel Gray That’s because you didn’t read the article. Like so many Christians you believe only what you are told. If only you looked a bit deeper you would find the truth. I even posted a link to the court case, but you refused to read it an learn the truth.

        Just for you, I will post again and you will see this is just another case of Christians lying and deceiving. In this cause it’s a Christian stealing.

        https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2023/06/14/725200.htm

        1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

          I did read the article...and your left wing link does not help you in the slightest with your myth

          1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

            @ Daniel Gray How are court documents and testimony in court left wing? Are you on drugs? Or is your mind just so polluted by religion you can’t think straight anymore? You can get help, but the first thing to do is realize you have a problem. I will pray for you

            1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

              Because these are NOT the original court documents. First off they come from the land of fruits and nuts...california.

              3570 Camino Del Rio N, San Diego, CA 92108

              Secondly the Wells Media Group (which is where you got this info from) is well known for "slanting" stories to fit their flavor of the month.

              Need I go on?

              1. Kenneth Lafe Eric Sanderson's Avatar Kenneth Lafe Eric Sanderson

                The fact that you are so terrified of "left wing" speaks for itself.

                Your conservative corporate overlords have you perfectly indoctrinated.

              2. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

                No I just refuse to take anyones word for it. I would rather read it directly FROM the court papers that are public. And again your source is well known for "slanting" things in their favor so a reputable source they clearly are not.

              3. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

                @ Daniel Gray. Yes do do not to go on. Everyone thought you were a good honest Christians who was spreading the teaching of Jesus with love and understanding. Instead you spread hate, hostility and lies even they are coming from Archdiocese of Sacramento.

                You are so caught up in your evil beliefs you are just like the homeless who are delusional eating food out of trash cans and saying they are God.

                Sad that you don’t know this land of Fruit and Nuts is what feeds the nation. And this land of Fruit and Nuts responsible for the invention of the transistor, computers, the Internet and the computer you are using. But you don’t. Your Christian hatred of your fellow is what so many young people want nothing to do with your religion or God. Keep it up, the world is a much better place without your Christian hatred.

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    Link to the court case https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2023/06/14/725200.htm

  1. Angelic Realms's Avatar Angelic Realms

    Hell no.

  1. Man of God's Avatar Man of God

    This situation is what the labor laws were written to protect. No one needs to call on God since this is a secular matter. Seek the correct lawyer and take legal action. Although, slow, laws have been passed concerting issues such as this.

  1. Jaycee Ngomane's Avatar Jaycee Ngomane

    My concern is with the priest, clearly he is no longer representing God but the owner of the restaurant. He should repent from his sins and stop forcing others

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Sins are a human construct, as are the origins of gods.

      🦁❤️

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    Father Mark, the main thing we want to know from you is what do you do with your altar boys? Is that another thing that priests hold in the strictest of confidence?

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    Mark, we think very poorly of pedophile priests around here. And just because you haven't been caught yet doesn't mean you aren't one of them. This blog is for ULC Ministers, not priests,and we don't care what the Catholic church thinks about anything.

  1. Monica Lynn Arteaga's Avatar Monica Lynn Arteaga

    The restaurant owner hired a FAKE PRIEST! Here’s an excerpt from:

    New York CNN — “A restaurant in California has been ordered to pay $140,000 in back wages and damages to employees after it hired a priest to extract workers’ confessions, in what federal investigators are calling “the most shameless” acts of corruption an employer has taken against its staff.

    The US Department of Labor said an employee testified that owner Che Garibaldi, who operates two locations of Taqueria Garibaldi in northern California, hired a fake priest to hear confessions during work hours and “get the sins out,” including asking them if they had been late for work, stolen money from the restaurant or had “bad intentions” toward their employer.”

  1. Robert J Giammarco's Avatar Robert J Giammarco

    WHY, would ANY ethical priest, or any clergy, even consider such a thing? Shame on the priest, as well as the church he is assigned. To do such a crule thing to those employees. Shame on the owner(s) for even attempting such a stunt. Legal action is certainly wrranted, both aginst the resturant, as well as the priest, and the church he is affliatied with, for allowing and doing such absured conduct.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    Those Catholic employees ought to get together as a group, and tell their boss "Take this job and shove it! I ain't working here no more! The whole business is totally screwed up. Whoever heard of a taqueria with an Italian name? He ought to be running a pizza parlour, for crying out loud!

  1. Arch Bishiop Rev Robert E Wright Jr's Avatar Arch Bishiop Rev Robert E Wright Jr

    that restrount owner should be arrested she or he can not brign relaegion into this and that priest should be releaved of duty for aully going threw with it

  1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

    Now this is completely wrong. Exactly what did they expect if some of their workers were not catholic?

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Daniel, I would assume that the owner is not Catholic, and thinks his non Catholic employees are more trustworthy, and don't need any help from a clergyman.

      1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

        Then you assume wrongly. The owners name is Che Garibaldi and yes he is a practicing Catholic. And even his own Priest has said this is not kosher as this would be like trying to force other members of a religion to convert.

    2. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Without guidance, Catholics are more likely to go astray.

    3. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      They probably think better about their non Catholic employees (I know I would), and don't think they need to be questioned.

      1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

        And this is why you will never own a business as the employees are to be treated equally and with respect until they prove otherwise, and then they either straighten out or are terminated

  1. Nicholas J Page's Avatar Nicholas J Page

    Disgraceful no respect for privacy as someone In Britain I have never been to confession as far as I'm aware ministers don't ask work related questions.The employer has well overstepped his duty of care and should be fired immediately. Reverend Nick Page.

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Nicholas, only Catholics go to confession, and they do that in Britain too.

  1. Marcel French's Avatar Marcel French

    There's no excuse for any employer or individual to force their religious beliefs on anyone. For far too long business have done this kind of tyrannical behavior and it's never been a good idea. The problems that afflict society today is a result of certain groups and individuals forcing their beliefs on others and openly displaying ignorance of differing points of view and beliefs.

  1. Mark R. Remillard's Avatar Mark R. Remillard

    I am a Priest and I would not do what that person did. God will deal with him. Confession is a very personal thing between Priest and person confessing and like a Doctor/Lawyer is held in confidence and not to be repeated to anyone.

  1. Kathleen McLaughlin's Avatar Kathleen McLaughlin

    Why would a holy man patriciate in this? I am upset about the owners but more so at that priest.

    1. Paul Edward Nunis's Avatar Paul Edward Nunis

      Who says it's really a priest? Not the Diocese.

  1. Kevin Panet's Avatar Kevin Panet

    From a Human Resources perspective, this create quite a legal minefield of potential lawsuits. What if an employee refuses to participate and is subsequently disciplined or fired? What if a person of the Jewish faith objects? What if the "priest" discloses what he learned to the owners?

    Employers who don't understand employment law often do things that they believe make perfect sense to them, but would never be upheld in a court of law.

  1. Kenneth Kling's Avatar Kenneth Kling

    It appears to me that the owner was using the "Church" as a weapon, playing on the deep religious practices of many of the "Spanish" population, thus the reason for selecting a priest from the local church. I wonder what he told the priest.that secured his help. Of course the entire episode was wrong.

  1. Gene Schenck's Avatar Gene Schenck

    Pay the money you owe the employees with 20 percent added in ,demand he buy a church bus to all churches in a this town and the surrounding towns with fuel for how ever many years he screwed those employees. And give his church 20 percent of his income. I hope the good Lord will give this a plus towards forgiving him for his wrong doings.

  1. Donald G Magel's Avatar Donald G Magel

    Someone's got a fetish!

  1. Richard Lee Cornell's Avatar Richard Lee Cornell

    Sounds like fun. At least for me. I put extra cash in the till to make it look that we were doing business while we were not. I made extra money by selling those illegal drugs that the boss had from Mexico. I accept that cash under the counter that is off the books for my boss. When my boss wife comes in and ask for her husband I tell her that he is picking up food, while in fact he is upstaris with one of his girl friends.

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