Tag Archives: Discrimination

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.”


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

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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.”


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.

Baltimore Italian Restaurants Sued For Sex Harassment by EEOC

Italian restaurants Basta Pasta in Maryland have been sued for sexual harassment and retaliation.  According to the federal court lawsuit filed the by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the Maryland restaurants, the owner repeatedly harassed his female workers, some of whom were teenagers, by touching them on their buttocks, lower backs and shoulders, rubbing his genitalia against their buttocks, leering at them and making comments about their bodies, including calling them “sexy” or “hot,” making sexually suggestive remarks and crude sexual innuendos, and asking for massages.

The lawsuit also claims that the owner of the restaurants pressured female employees to have alcoholic drinks at the end of their shifts and, in one instance, gave one female employee so much alcohol that she passed out and later vomited, causing the worker to believe that the owner drugged her in an attempt to sexually assault her.  The complaint also alleges that in another instance the owner took another female employee to his house purportedly to talk about a management opportunity.  Instead the worker believes she was drugged and sexually assaulted by the restaurant owner. Two workers claim that the sexual harassment was so unbearable that they quit their jobs.

Attorneys for the EEOC claim that the company failed to take corrective measures after the restaurant manager complained about the owner’s sexually offensive behavior and eventually fired her in retaliation for complaining about the sexual harassment.  According to the lawsuit, the restaurant also threatened the manager when she participated in the EEOC investigation and pressured her to recant her testimony.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sexual harassment and forbids employers from retaliating against employees who make complaints about sexual harassment or discrimination.  The EEOC is seeking, among other things, injunctive relief prohibiting Basta Pasta from engaging in sexual harassment or retaliation, as well as lost wages and compensatory and punitive damages.

Bayou City Wings Sued for Pregnancy Discrimination

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Bayou City Wings, a Baytown, Texas-based restaurant chain, violated federal law when its managers laid off pregnant employees under a discriminatory policy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged in a lawsuit it filed on September 26, 2012.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Maryann Castillo and other female workers were laid off after the third month of their pregnancies under a written policy, set out in Bayou City Wings’ employee handbook.  Bayou City Wings owns and operates restaurants in Baytown, Houston and surrounding areas.  The company’s district manager laid off Castillo pursuant to the policy even though she had provided a doctor’s note that indicated she could work up to the 36th week of her pregnancy and that her doctor had not placed any restrictions on her ability to work.

During the EEOC’s investigation of a discrimination charge brought by Castillo, Bayou City Wings named eight female employees who were laid off from work because of their pregnancies.  According to a Bayou City Wings general store manager, for a manager to keep a pregnant employee at work any longer would “be irresponsible in respect to her child’s safety” and would jeopardize his position with the company “for not following procedures.”

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex or pregnancy.  The attorneys for the EEOC filed suit 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.   The EEOC seeks an injunction, back pay with pre-judgment interest, reinstatement or front pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages, in amounts to be determined at trial.

Owner of 25 McDonald’s Restaurants to Pay $1 Million in EEOC Sexual Harassment Suit

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The owner and franchisee of 25 McDonald’s restaurants has agreed to pay $1,000,000 and provide substantial injunctive relief to resolve a class sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Missoula Mac violated federal civil rights laws at its Reedsburg, Wis., McDonald’s by permitting male employees to create a hostile work environment of sexual harassment against female co-workers, some of whom were teenagers, and by retaliating against those who complained about sexual harassment.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, since at least 2006, several male employees at the restaurant subjected female co-workers to sexual harassment, including sexual comments, kissing, touching of their private areas, and forcing their hands onto the men’s private parts.  Despite being notified of the situation, Missoula Mac failed and refused to take prompt and appropriate action to correct the harassment and the resulting hostile environment, forcing at least one of the harassed employees to quit.  Further, the company fired other harassed employees after they complained repeatedly about their co-workers’ behavior.  Three women previously employed at the Reedsburg McDonald’s filed discrimination charges with the EEOC that led to the lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb entered a four-year consent decree resolving the suit.  Under its terms, Missoula Mac will pay out $1 million in compensatory damages to 10 former employees who experienced sexual harassment and retaliation during their employment at the Reedsburg McDonald’s.  The company will also (1) create an ombudsperson position responsible for monitoring, soliciting and resolving complaints of sexual harassment or retaliation; (2) establish telephone and e-mail hotlines for employees to report sexual harassment or retaliation; (3) evaluate its managers’ and supervisors’ performance based in part on whether their restaurants comply with anti-harassment and anti-retaliation laws and policies; (4) track and maintain records of all sexual harassment and retaliation complaints; (5) implement a comprehensive training program to enable its employees to identify sexual harassment and properly investigate internal complaints; (6) post notices at all its restaurants informing employees that it has settled a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit with the EEOC and publicizing some settlement terms; and (7) provide periodic reports to the EEOC showing it is complying with the terms of the decree.

Accountant for The Fireman Group Café Concepts Claims National Origin Discrimination and Retaliation

A former corporate accountant for The Fireman Group Café Concepts, Inc. has filed a lawsuit alleging that she was harassed, discriminated against, retaliated against, and discharged due to her national origin.

The accountant alleges in her Complaint that as early as her first day of work her supervisor expressed shock that she was hired because she was not Russian, refused to train her, and only spoke Russian with the rest of the accounting staff who were also Russian. The accountant claims she was made fun of and imitated in a mocking manner by the supervisor because of her Egyptian ethnicity. She also contends that she repeatedly complained to management about the supervisor’s derogatory comments and harassment but was told there was nothing they could do. After completing her first 90 days of work the accountant asserts that she asked to be provided health insurance. Although other employees were given health insurance after their first 90 days of work, the accountant claims she was told she had complained too much about her supervisor’s harassment and was not eligible. About one week after her supervisor allegedly told her “people of the same culture get along well together,” the accountant was fired.

Attorneys for the accountant seek damages for lost wages resulting from her unlawful termination as well as compensatory damages for mental, emotional and physical injury, distress, pain and suffering, injury to reputation, and attorneys’ fees.

EEOC Sues Sparx Restaurant for Race Discrimination and Retaliation

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A race discrimination lawsuit filed against Sparx, a Menomonie, Wisconsin restaurant, accuses restaurant managers of posting racist imagery and then firing an African-American employee after he complained.

According to a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), Dion Miller arrived for his regularly scheduled shift at the restaurant to find taped to the cooler a picture of African-American actor Gary Coleman and a dollar bill which had been defaced such that a noose was around the neck of George Washington, whose face had been blackened.  Also on the dollar bill were swastikas and the image of a man in a Ku Klux Klan hood.  Sparx managers told Miller that they had posted the images the evening before but, when Miller complained, insisted that it was “a joke.” Miller was terminated within weeks of complaining about the racist imagery, for allegedly having “a bad attitude.”  Attorneys for the EEOC have charged that Sparx terminated Miller in retaliation for opposing race discrimination.

The EEOC’s lawsuit seeks backpay compensation for lost wages, reinstatement, and compensatory and punitive damages.

Hurricane Grill and Wings pays $200,000 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Suit

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Hurricane Grill and Wings restaurant in Royal Palm Beach, Florida will pay $200,000 to settle a class sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of the restaurant’s waitresses, according to a Consent Decree filed with the United States District Court of Florida for the Southern District of Florida.

The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that the company violated federal law when it permitted a class of female servers to be sexually harassed by a customer, a Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy. Later, the EEOC said, the company fired a female server after management learned she had hired a private attorney to assist her in filing an EEOC complaint.

The case against Hurricane Grill and Wings alleged that the servers were frequently grabbed on their breasts and buttocks and humiliated by sexual innuendo, as well as by direct invitations to join the harasser and his wife in ménage a trois.

Sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Race Discrimination Lawsuit Filed against Panera Bread Restaurants

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A race discrimination class action lawsuit has been filed by an African-American sandwich line worker at a Pennsylvania Panera Bread restaurant claiming that black employees were denied opportunities for promotion to management positions.

The Complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, alleges that Panera restaurants precluded “Fat, Black, and Ugly” people from its workforce and kept these individuals away from customer contact. The lawsuit alleges that restaurant management adopted a racially-based hiring and work assignment policy and that blacks were routinely assigned to jobs in the back of the store, washing dishes or in food preparation, so customers would not see them.

Attorneys for the worker seek class action status for the case and compensatory and punitive damages for a class of African-American workers at Panera Bread who sought management positions at the restaurant.