Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: Oregon Restaurant Sued For “Racial Discrimination”, Retaliation; Claims “Intentional Bias, Visceral Antagonism”

“…The suit says (the plaintiff) reported Counard’s conduct and “visceral antagonism” to other managers…he was suspended based on an Hospitality Industry Discrimination Lawsuitsallegation that he had told a server to rinse and serve a skewer of shrimp that had fallen on the floor…A month later, after an investigation in which Huleis was not interviewed, he was fired…The lawsuit claims Huleis’ treatment was intentional, was part of a pattern of discrimination against minority employees and was done with a reckless disregard for the company’s societal obligations…”

A Eugene man who says he was fired from his job at the Eugene Red Lobster restaurant because he is of Middle Eastern descent has filed a lawsuit against the chain in federal court. Jim Huleis, who came to Eugene in 2011 to help open a Red Lobster outlet near Valley River Center, seeks unspecified damages on claims of racial discrimination and retaliation. He alleges an area manager who disliked that Huleis was Arab singled him out for bad treatment to discredit and ultimately fire him.

The lawsuit asks the court to issue an injunction barring Red Lobster’s parent company, Florida-based GMRI Inc., from discriminating against people based on race or national origin. It also asks for an award compensating Huleis for his economic losses, including his past and future earnings, and for reinstatement to his job.

In addition, the suit asks for compensation for noneconomic damages and punitive damages and for an award covering his legal costs.

“We are a company known for greatly valuing diversity and have zero tolerance for any form of discrimination, so we take any claim like this very seriously,” Bernstein said in an e-mailed statement. “If there are differences between employees and our company during or after employment, the mutual goal is to resolve these issues in a prompt and fair way, and to do that we have a robust dispute resolution process, which includes mediation and arbitration. Mr. Huleis is pursuing this matter through that process.”

According to the suit, Counard immediately treated Huleis different from other managers, giving him inappropriate tasks, minimizing him and barring him from duties he would usually perform.

For more:  http://www.registerguard.com/rg/news/local/30417354-75/huleis-eugene-lobster-red-says.html.csp

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