Restaurant Chain Pays $1.9M to Settle EEOC Race Bias Suit

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By Kevin McGowan

A Chicago-area restaurant chain and the EEOC settled for $1.9 million an agency lawsuit alleging the company refused to hire black applicants ( EEOC v. Rosebud Rests., Inc. , N.D. Ill., No. 13-6656, consent decree entered 5/30/17 ).

The case, settled before depositions were taken or the parties filed significant court motions, advances an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforcement priority of dismantling barriers to the hiring of racial minorities.

Rosebud Restaurants Inc., which operates 13 Italian restaurants in Chicago and its suburbs, agreed that at least 11 percent of its future workforce would be black employees under a four-year consent decree approved May 30 by a federal district court.

Rosebud will recruit black workers, train its managers and employees regarding anti-discrimination and retaliation laws, and report periodically to the EEOC on its progress, according to the settlement.

The EEOC sued in 2013 after its investigation showed many of Rosebud’s restaurants had no black employees and company managers used racial slurs to refer to black workers, according to the agency. The alleged discrimination prevented black applicants from being hired as servers and for other front-of-the-house positions, the agency said.

Rosebud admits no liability under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act by settling the case.

“We consider it our mission to treat our employees as family—with honesty and respect—and we are proud of our employment record and the diversity of our workforce,” the company said in a May 31 statement sent to Bloomberg BNA. “We have not, do not and will not tolerate discrimination of any type toward employees or applicants.

The company worked “closely and collaboratively” with the EEOC “since questions were first raised in 2010" by the agency, Rosebud said.

The company is “committed to operating with integrity and conducting business in an ethical and legal manner,” Rosebud said. “We understand that we all can do more to demonstrate our commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Kevin McGowan in Washington at kmcgowan@bna.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at maulino@bna.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bna.com; Christopher Opfer at copfer@bna.com

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