San Antonio Employment Law Blog

Restaurant fired worker who complained about racist customers

Most people in San Antonio know that it is illegal for their employers to discriminate against them or harass them. But, what about when a customer or client harasses you at work? Is your employer obligated to do anything about that?

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 if employees report to employers that their co-workers or customers are creating a hostile work environment, the employer is required to take steps to prevent and correct the harassment. And, it is illegal for the employer to retaliate against workers who complain about harassment from customers or any third-party.

An Atlanta-based company that owns more than 100 Waffle House restaurants was recently sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for allegedly retaliating against an employee who complained about experiencing racial harassment in the workplace.

According to the EEOC, an employee at a Tampa Waffle House complained about experiencing race-based harassment from several customers, and the employee was then fired.

The lawsuit has now been settled, with the employer agreeing to pay the former employee $25,000, as well as to provide training on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to managers and other personnel.

It is very important that employers that retaliate against workers for complaining of rights violations are held accountable. If employees fear retaliation, they may not express concerns that should be heard. Those whose rights may have been violated in a Texas workplace may benefit from seeking legal representation in order to hold their employer accountable and obtain compensation.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “East Coast Waffles Settles EEOC Lawsuit for Retaliation,” March 28, 2013

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