A popular Minnesota-based restaurant chain known throughout the nation for its chicken wings, signature sauces and sports bar atmosphere was recently named in a federal lawsuit filed by two former servers who allege that they were victimized by unacceptable and illegal workplace discrimination.
Specifically, Buffalo Wild Wings was served with the lawsuit, which is seeking over $75,000 in damages for lost wages and emotional distress, earlier this month.
According to the complaint, the two African American servers were employed at a Buffalo Wild Wings franchise located in Ohio from 2006 up until their termination in 2013. While the two women indicated that they loved their jobs for many years, things changed when a new assistant manager was hired in 2012.
While a complete breakdown of the allegations is beyond the scope of a single blog post, the complaint outlines how this new assistant manager proceeded to make offensive, sexually explicit and racially charged jokes during staff meetings, and how complaints to the human resources department at the company's Minneapolis headquarters went unaddressed.
Indeed, the complaint goes on to allege that the assistant manager named in the formal complaint was subsequently promoted to general manager and that his pattern of racially motivated comments continued.
When things became unbearable, the complaint states that the two women filed yet another formal complaint with human resources, but were then let go shortly thereafter for what was deemed performance issues.
Buffalo Wild Wings has declined to comment on the pending lawsuit, but indicated that it carefully investigates any and all reports of workplace discrimination.
For their part, the two servers, who have also filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, indicated that the lawsuit isn't about getting money or revenge, but rather about doing what is necessary to combat racism in the workplace.
"In 2014 you'd have thought so many years had passed since it was in our face," said one of the servers. "I would like justice to be served, whatever that may be."
Stay tuned for developments on this important case
Any employee who believes that they have been victimized by race discrimination must know that they have rights under state and federal law, and that an experienced legal professional can help them enforce these rights.
Source: Fox 19, "Lawsuit alleges discrimination at Buffalo Wild Wings," July 22, 2014