Discrimination and Retaliation

Rosebud Restaurants to Pay $1.9 Million to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Discrimination Against African-Americans

Rosebud Restaurant EEOC discrimination

Rosebud Restaurants will pay $1.9 million to settle a discrimination lawsuit claiming that it refused to hire black employees.  According to the lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC), 13 Italian restaurants operated by Rosebud in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs refused to hire African-Americans because of their race. The EEOC also charged that managers, including Rosebud owner Alex Dana, used racial slurs to refer to blacks.   At the time EEOC began investigating Rosebud’s hiring practices, many of its restaurants had no African-American employees at all.

The settlement calls for Rosebud to pay $1.9 million to African-American applicants who were denied jobs.  Additionally, Rosebud has agreed to hiring goals for qualified black applicants, with the aim that 11% of Rosebud’s future workforce be African-American.  In addition, the settlement enjoins Rosebud from engaging in race discrimination or retaliation in the future. It also requires Rosebud to recruit African-American applicants, train employees and managers about race discrimination and retaliation, provide periodic reports to EEOC on compliance with the decree’s terms for four years, and post notices informing employees of the decree’s terms.

The restaurants covered by the suit include The Rosebud; Carmine’s; Rosebud on Rush; Rosebud Prime; Mama’s Boy; Rosebud Steakhouse; Rosebud Deerfield; Rosebud in Naperville; and the closed restaurants Rosebud Old World Italian; Rosebud Theatre District; Rosebud of Highland Park; Rosebud Burger & Comfort Foods; Rosebud Trattoria; Joe Fish; EATT; Bar Umbriago; and Centro.

An EEOC spokesman said, “African-Americans have faced and still face barriers in being hired at upscale restaurants, especially in visible, and often well-paid, positions such as server. That is why the recruiting and hiring relief in this decree is so important. It will lead directly to qualified blacks being hired for front- and back-of-the-house positions, helping to remedy past discrimination by Rosebud and ensuring equal employment opportunities for future African-American applicants.”

 

EEOC Sues Ruby Tuesday For Age Discrimination

Ruby Tuesday EEOC age discrimination

Ruby Tuesday, a national casual dining restaurant chain, violated federal law by refusing to hire a qualified applicant at its Boca Raton, Fla., location because of his age, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed in federal court in Florida.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the restaurant declined to hire a qualified applicant with over 20 years of experience in the food and beverage industry for a general manager position at its Boca Raton restaurant. In response to an inquiry by the applicant as to why Ruby Tuesday declined to hire him, the company informed him it was seeking a candidate who could “maximize longevity.”  According to the lawsuit, the applicant was 59 when he applied for the job, and the individual who got the job was 17 years younger.  Attorneys for the EEOC contend that the failure to hire the applicant violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

A spokesman for the EEOC said, “Age cannot be a factor in whether or not someone can earn a living.  The Age Discrimination in Employment Act was put in place precisely to protect people against this type of conduct. The bustling hospitality industry needs to be reflective of all of the members of our community.”

In 2013, Ruby Tuesday paid $575,000 to resolve another age discrimination lawsuit brought by the EEOC on behalf of older restaurant workers in Western Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Bayou City Wings Discriminated Against Older Workers at Restaurants, EEOC Charges in Lawsuit

Bayou City Wings logo

Bayou City Wings, a Houston-based restaurant chain, has unlawfully engaged in a pattern or practice of intentional age discrimination in its hiring of host and wait staff, according to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employ­ment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

EEOC’s lawsuit said that since at least 2008, Bayou City Wings has been discriminating against a class of applicants for “front of house” positions, such as food servers and hosts, by failing to hire them because of their age (40 years and older). According to EEOC’s lawsuit, Bayou City Wings’ upper management instructed other managers not to recruit and hire older job seekers and disciplined and terminated a manager who refused to comply. The agency also charged that since at least 2008 to about November 2013, the company failed to preserve employment records, including the job applications of unsuccessful applicants, in violation of federal law.

Age discrimination, as well as the failure to preserve proper job application records, violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

EEOC filed the lawsuit (Civil Action No. 4:16-cv-03245) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas (Houston Division), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. EEOC seeks, among other things, monetary relief for applicants denied employment because of their age; the adoption of policies and procedures to remedy and prevent age discrimination; and training on discrimination for all Bayou City Wings managers and human resources staff.

“Sadly, age discrimination continues to be an employment barrier for many Americans,” said Rayford O. Irvin, district director of EEOC’s Houston office. “Denying jobs to qualified applicants who are over 40 because of their age is unlawful, yet older job applicants often do not know they are victims of this unlawful discrimination.”

 

Former Servers Sue Saks Fifth Avenue Restaurants For Sex and Age Discrimination

Saks Fith Avenue

Five former servers at the restaurants in Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship store in New York City are suing the store’s food services provider for gender and age discrimination-based termination. Earlier this year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found reasonable cause to believe that plaintiffs were unfairly terminated under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) based on their sex and age.

Fifth Dining, LLC took over food and beverage operations at Saks in October 2012. According to the lawsuit, they terminated twenty employees within the first year they ran the food services at Saks, and terminated another twenty workers soon thereafter. The lawsuit alleges that a disproportionate number of the employees fired were competent, long-service females over the age of 40 and they were all replaced with young, attractive men. New management, the complaint contends, was looking for a “new, younger face” for the Saks restaurants and the current servers were “not attractive enough” and were getting “too old.”

The workers are seeking injunctive and declaratory relief, compensatory and punitive damages, and liquidated damages pursuant to Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, New York State Law, and New York City Law.

Haru Restaurants Sued for Discrimination Against Hispanics

haru japanese fusion logo

A pattern of discrimination against Latino workers at Haru Resturant has been alleged in a lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court.

Haru is a chain of Japanese restaurants that employs 1,000 Hispanic employees as bussers and runners. According to the class action lawsuit, management refused to promote runner Richard Martinez to waiter even though he was more than qualified for the job, Martinez claims that it is common for managerial staff to promote non-Hispanic bussers and runners to waiters over their more experienced Hispanic counterparts. In addition to not being experiences, Martinez says some of the new hires were also not fluent in English. Furthermore, management would ask him to train new waiters because he was most knowledgeable about the menus. When Martinez complained about the discrimination, management retaliated by reducing the hours he worked.

Martinez is suing on behalf of all the Hispanic employees who have experienced discrimination in Haru Restaurants in the last three years. Attorneys for the workers seek to vindicate the civil rights of the Hispanic employees and recover economic and compensatory damages, under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the New York City Human Rights Law, and the New York State Human Rights Law.

Happy National Waiters and Waitresses Day!

old school waiter photo

Today is National Waiters and Waitresses Day. To commemorate, check out this blog about the top ten wage violations in the restaurant industry written by waiterpay.com founder Louis Pechman, featured on the Huffington Post.

Discrimination Lawsuit Filed Against Restaurant That Fired Waitress Because "Baby Was At Risk"

authurs prime steaks and seafood logo

A cocktail waitress was terminated because she was pregnant, according to a lawsuit filed against Arthur’s Restaurant and Bar, located in Addison, Texas.  The lawsuit, which was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), claimed that soon after waitress Jennifer Todd informed her supervisors that she was pregnant, one of her supervisors commented that she was “beginning to show.” The EEOC’s investigation revealed that Todd was then forced to take early maternity leave and was never again assigned a shift at Arthur’s. The company claimed that her “baby’s health was at risk” because Arthur’s is a smoking establishment.

The alleged conduct of the restaurant violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  EEOC attorneys are seeking lost wages, front pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and emotional distress damages. The EEOC is also seeking policy changes at Arthur’s to prevent and appropriately address future instances of sex and pregnancy discrimination.

David Burke Restaurants Sued For Religious Discrimination And Wage Payment Violations

davidburke townhouse logo

David Burke’s restaurants have been hit with a class action lawsuit for religious discrimination, retaliation, and wage payment violations. The class action lawsuit was filed against Chef David Burke and a number of his restaurants, “Fishtail,” “David Burke Townhouse,” “David Burke at Bloomingdale’s,” and “David Burke Kitchen,” by attorneys for Ibrahima Kaba, a former cleaning worker at David Burke Townhouse.

Kaba claims that he and other Muslim employees were denied the right to attend mandated Friday noon prayer at a mosque. The lawsuit also alleges that Kaba was wrongfully terminated in retaliation for complaining about religious discrimination and that other Muslim employees have similarly been retaliated against for their complaints by having their schedules reduced, being denied opportunities for equal compensation, or being terminated.

According to Kaba’s lawyers, he was also not paid overtime pay for hours worked over forty, received improper wage deductions for meals, and was not given required wage statements and annual wage notices in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York labor laws.

Lawyers for the workers seek economic and compensatory damages, unpaid wages, unpaid overtime, liquidated damages, attorneys’ fees, and an injunction ordering David Burke’s restaurants to cease its discriminatory practices.

Ruby Tuesday Restaurants Will Pay $575,000 to Resolve EEOC Age Discrimination Class Action Lawsuit

ruby tuesday logo

Ruby Tuesday Restaurants will pay $575, to settle an age discrimination class action lawsuit filed by the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC alleged that Ruby Tuesday engaged in a pattern or practice of age discrimination against job applicants who were 40 years of age or older at six of the chain’s restaurants located in Pennsylvania, and in Ohio, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). The restaurant chain also failed to preserve employment records, including employment applications, as required by the ADEA and EEOC regulations, the EEOC charged in its lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court of the Western District of Pennsylvania (EEOC v. Ruby Tuesday, Inc., Civil Action No. 09-1330).

“This case demonstrates the agency’s ongoing commitment to challenge discriminatory barriers to hiring,” said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez.  “Vigorous law enforcement efforts on behalf of older workers are critical to the EEOC’s mission to eradicate barriers to employment. EEOC District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. said, “The EEOC is committed to combatting unlawful age discrimination in the workplace and will hold employers responsible if they make hiring decisions based on age rather than the applicant’s ability to do the job.”

In addition to the $575,000 in monetary relief, the three-and-one-half-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit enjoins Ruby Tuesday from engaging in future age discrimination or retaliation and provides substantial non-monetary relief at the affected Ruby Tuesday locations.

Among other things, Ruby Tuesday, Inc. will implement numerical goals for hiring and recruitment of job applicants age 40 and older at the affected locations; review its job advertisements to make certain they do not violate the ADEA’s prohibitions against age discrimination; and report to the EEOC and keep records about its hiring practices and compliance with the consent decree.

Mario Batali Market Sued For Disability Discrimination

tarry market

Tarry Market, a specialty foods store in Port Chester, New York owned by restaurateurs Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, has been sued by a former employee who alleges that she was discriminated against and ultimately fired due to her physical disability, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and New York Human Rights Law.

Ivana Hidalgo claims in a federal court Complaint that Tarry Market managers denied her requests for reasonable accommodations and terminated her because of her disability. Hidalgo was involved in a serious car accident requiring surgery that left the bones in one leg more than an inch shorter than the other leg. Hidalgo requested that she sometimes be able to sit or rest against a stool while working, an accommodation that managers originally agreed to but then disallowed, stating that employees should not be sitting at work. The complaint alleges that Hidalgo continued working after her stool was taken away, even though she was in pain, but after missing work due to illness exacerbated by the company’s lack of accommodations, she was fired.

The lawsuit seeks lost wages as well as compensatory and punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees.

DISCLAIMER: The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form. Please verify that you have read the disclaimer.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form