The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was landmark legislation forbidding discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, gender or national origin. Fifty years later, it is still helping protect workers, as a recent Maryland case involving a pair of restaurants illustrates.
Two McCormick & Schmick's restaurants in Baltimore were accused of engaging in race discrimination against African-Americans applying for front-of-the-house jobs. The corporations owning the eateries have agreed to settle the claims against them for $1.3 million.
They have also agreed to “provide significant equitable relief,” the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced.
The restaurants were also accused of discriminating against the black front-of-house workers it did have by giving them unequal work assignments. It was also alleged that the eateries’ website ads soliciting job applicants visually “expressed a preference for non-black workers to the ordinary reader.”
A lawsuit outlining the allegations was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in 2008. It was settled with a U.S. Magistrate Judge serving as mediator.
The $1.3 million is to be divided among black job applicants who sought front-of-house positions (server, hostess/host, busser, bartender) at the restaurant from Jan. 1 1998 to Jan. 1 2010, along with black employees who worked in those positions during the period.
The restaurants also agreed to put in place numerical goals for hiring black persons in front-of-house positions; recruit black job applicants; review its job ads; and “conduct extensive self-assessment” to ensure it meets the terms of the settlement, among other things.
The first step in obtaining justice and compensation for wronged workers is a conversation with an employment law attorney.