A group of African-American workers at a Manhattan TGI Friday’s restaurant filed a class-action discrimination suit when they were allegedly replaced by lighter-skinned employees after the eatery moved to a new location, states the New York Daily News.
The lawsuit was filed on Thursday at the Bronx Supreme Court. According to reports, the group of black workers let their feelings be known to the higher-ups about the blatantly racist move, but one manager in particular reportedly informed one of the plaintiffs that his preference was to employ a Hispanic staff because of their diligent work ethic.
“It was their opinion that black people were lazy,” Lisa Baker, 48, a waitress, who spoke to the newspaper, said. “We weren’t even given a chance.”
Court documents state that the eatery wanted to shed the image it had at its old location because it had come to be known as “the ghetto store” or “black Fridays.” The employees who filed suit also claim they were promised a spot at the restaurant’s new location.
“They knew exactly what they were doing,” said plaintiff Tony Pringle, 42, told the New York Daily News and who lost his $850 a week position as a waiter. “They were basically not hiring blacks.”
TGI Friday’s, a family-owned business whose corporate umbrella falls under the banner of the Reise Organization. Pat Smith, a spokesperson for the restaurant told the New York Daily News about the eatery’s 75-year proud tradition of diversity within its employees and how, “The restaurant in question has a workforce, including managers, that is more than 80% non-white.”
Meanwhile, the former workers are reportedly demanding in a lawsuit $500,000 for each employee — for a total of $5 million — for “loss of wages, emotional distress and punitive damages.”