A number of black employees who previously worked at a Manhattan TGI Friday’s are suing the chain, alleging that when the busy outpost closed, managers hired an all-new, light-skinned staff to take their place.
According to the lawsuit, filed Thursday in the Bronx Supreme Court, only one of the former black staff members was rehired when the restaurant moved to the new location just a block away. The suit also alleges that when confronted by former employees about the change, a restaurant manager told one of them that he “preferred Hispanic staffers because they work harder.”
In fact, managers would refer to the old location as “the black Friday’s” or the “ghetto store,” the suit says.
From the NY Daily News:
“It was their opinion that black people were lazy,” charged plaintiff Lisa Baker, 48, a waitress who says her old manager told her that her job serving guests was unavailable at the new location. “We weren’t even given a chance.”
Former employees said they were promised a fair shot at reapplying for jobs at the new restaurant, a 15,000-square-foot franchise on 34th St., but never heard from their old employers.
“They knew exactly what they were doing,” said plaintiff Tony Pringle, 42, who earned $850 a week as a waiter at the old location and was not rehired. “They were basically not hiring blacks.”
A spokesman for Friday’s owners, National Restaurants Management Inc. — a family-run business long known as the Reise Organization — said the company “is proud of its 75-year tradition of positive employee relations with a diverse workforce.”
“The restaurant in question has a workforce, including managers, that is more than 80% non-white,” spokesman Pat Smith said in a statement.
Lawyers are seeking $5 million for “loss of wages, emotional distress and punitive damages” — an amount that translates to $500,000 for each former employee.
SOURCE: NY Daily News | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty