District Court rules that restaurant firing was a recipe for disaster

A federal district court has ruled that Wisconsin restaurant Sparx must pay back pay and interest to a former employee

who was fired in retaliation for complaining about a racist display in the workplace.  The restaurant is on the hook for more than $56,000 and its owner and other managers were ordered to participate in anti-discrimination training.

The former employee, Dion Miller claimed that he was fired because he complained about an offensive display in the restaurant—which included a dollar bill with a noose around George Washington’s neck, drawings of a man on horseback and a hooded figure with “KKK” written on his hood.  Within three weeks of lodging the complaint, Mr. Miller, who was a cook, was fired.

In September 2013 the jury found in favor of the plaintiff, and awarded $15,000 in damages for emotional distress to Mr. Miller.

Subsequently, Judge Barbara B. Crabb rejected a motion from Sparx to set aside the verdict, and awarded Mr. Miller back pay and interest of more than $41,000.  The court also entered a three-year injunction, enjoining the defendants from:

-Retaliatory firings for complaints about racially offensive postings in the workplace
-Failing to adopt policies that explicitly prohibit unlawful actions under Title VII
-Failing to adopt an investigative process for discrimination claims
-Failing to provide annual training to employees regarding Title VII

Protect your company by adopting firm anti-discrimination policies

To avoid liability for discrimination claims from employees, you must adopt firm anti-discrimination policies that comply with state and federal law.  Your policies should be clearly written and provided to all employees.  You must also have a complaint process in place and ensure that everyone from management to entry level employees knows, understand and can use the process without fear of reprisal.  Annual or bi-annual anti-discrimination training is also highly recommended to ensure your whole team knows, understands, and adheres to such policies.

Avoid discrimination lawsuits,talk to a NY employment law defense  attorney

If an employee has filed a discrimination complaint against you with the EEOC, you need to speak with an experienced attorney immediately.  An experienced attorney can explain your legal options and the best way to proceed.  To discuss discrimination or any other employee disputes contact a NY employment defense law attorney  today.   

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