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.

Haru Restaurants Sued for Discrimination Against Hispanics

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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!

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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"

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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

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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

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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.

Lawsuit Claims Chicago Restaurants Refused to Hire Black Waiters

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African Americans were denied waiter positions at a number of Chicago restaurants owned by Rosebud Restaurants Inc. according to a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The complaint, which was filed in Federal Court in Chicago, claims the founder and owner of Rosebud Restaurants Inc., Alex Dana, and other management employees have discriminated against black job applicants.  The lawsuit claims that at the time of filing most of the restaurants had no black employees.  Rosebud Restaurants owns and operates several popular restaurants in the Chicago Area including Carmines in Chicago, Rosebud of Highland Park, and Ristorante Centro.

The EEOC is seeking a permanent injunction to prevent future discrimination by the restaurants against African American applicants. It also seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages for an undisclosed number of applicants who were denied employment because of their race.

Monkey Bar Sued for Race Discrimination and Wage Payment Violations

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Monkey Bar, a popular New York City restaurant owned by Graydon Carter (best known as the Publisher of Vanity Fair), has been hit by a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court for race discrimination and violation of wage payment laws.

Attorneys for Samuel Prabir, a food runner at Monkey Bar, claims that he spent more than 20% of his workdays performing non-tipped work, such as polishing silverware, setting up the expediter’s station, and preparing sauces.

According to the lawyers for the worker, he was also harassed by other workers at the restaurant because of his Bengali national origin.  The lawsuit alleges that he was wrongfully discharged when he complain to restaurant management about the discrimination.

Lawsuit Filed Against Bojangles Restuarant for Firing Muslim Who Refused to Cut His Beard

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A Bojangles’ restaurant violated the discrimination laws when it failed to accommodate a Muslim employee’s religious beliefs and then fired him because of his religion, according to a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

According to the EEOC’s discrimination lawsuit, Devin Charles has been a practicing Muslim for the past 14 years. As a male Muslim member of his sect of the Sunni branch of the Islamic faith, Charles is required to grow and maintain a beard and is not allowed to trim or cut his beard unless it exceeds the length of his fist when holding his beard in his closed hand under his chin, commonly referred to as “fist length.” In accordance with his sincerely held religious beliefs, Charles has not trimmed or cut his beard unless it exceeded a fist length.

Attorneys for the EEOC claimed in the lawsuit that Charles applied for a job with a Bojangles’ restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina and on May 17, 2012, he was interviewed by a Bojangles’ restaurant manager for a food prep position. After the interview, the manager of the restaurant informed Charles that he might need to cut his beard, to which Charles responded that he could not cut his beard for religious reasons, informing her that he was a Muslim. Charles was hired and worked at the restaurant on May 18 without incident.

However, on the following day, the manager instructed Charles that her supervisor, the district manager, had come to the restaurant, seen Charles’ beard and instructed her to tell Charles that he needed to shave off his beard to continue working for Bojangles’. Charles reminded the manager that he could not cut his beard because of his religion, and requested an accommodation of wearing a beard net, similar to a hair net, which the restaurant manager refused. The restaurant manager told Charles to leave the restaurant, and to not return to work until he shaved off his beard. Charles refused to shave his beard and was consequently fired, the EEOC said.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for the sincerely held religious beliefs of employees as long as doing so does not pose an undue hardship on the employer.

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