Manager asks ‘Why can’t you drop this’ when gay waiter reports harassment, feds say

A waiter informed his supervisor he might now not tolerate the insults and sexual harassment he had endured from a co-worker for months — then he was fired, federal officers stated.

The Memphis restaurant now owes the waiter $60,000, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission stated in an April 30 information launch.

The firm agreed to settle however denies wrongdoing.

The waiter, an overtly gay man, had been working at Amerigo Italian Restaurant for roughly two months when one other waiter began calling him homophobic slurs, federal officers stated in a grievance filed in September 2023.

After a number of incidents, the person complained to his normal supervisor, who informed the worker he would hearth the opposite man if it occurred once more, in accordance with the lawsuit.

Contrary to the corporate’s coverage, it didn’t examine the report of a hostile surroundings and didn’t converse with anybody who might have witnessed the harassment, federal officers stated.

From January to October 2021, this continued, and it began affecting different staff, in accordance with the waiter.

“Management’s lack of remedial action caused other employees to avoid working shifts when the harasser was scheduled for fear of being targeted based on their sex/sexual orientation and (the accused harasser) oft-expressed disapproval of people who do not conform to gender stereotypes,” officers stated within the lawsuit.

The waiter went to administration once more and stated he couldn’t proceed working alongside the person, requesting to be moved to a different shift or one other one of many restaurant’s places.

Federal officers stated the overall supervisor requested him, “Why can’t you drop this?” and “What do you want me to do?” earlier than denying these requests.

He informed the waiter he wouldn’t hearth the opposite worker, officers stated.

The subsequent day, the waiter stated he was scheduled to work a shift with the accused harasser and tried to get another person to cowl his shift however couldn’t. The normal supervisor fired him that day on the grounds of “no call, no show,” which the waiter contested, in accordance with the grievance.

“Three days after he notified management that he could no longer suffer such abuse due to the impact it was having on him mentally and physically,” the restaurant terminated him, federal officers stated.

The EEOC stated this violated the Civil Rights Act, however the restaurant objects.

“Amerigo has and will continue to promote a robust policy of inclusion for all communities, including the LGBTQ+ community, and is welcoming of all applicants and employees who want to be part of our team,” a spokesperson informed McClatchy News in a press release. “As an employee-owned company that is committed to the needs of every staff member, Amerigo has always maintained and promoted an open-door policy of reporting any concerns among our staff.

“We will continue to do so through our ongoing zero-tolerance policy on discrimination and harassment, as well as annualized training to foster an inclusive, healthy, productive and professional workplace providing a comfortable dining experience to our guests,” the assertion continued. “While we adamantly deny any wrongdoing, we are pleased to have resolved the unjustifiable and categorically false claims brought against us in this matter.”

In addition to the $60,000 payout, the corporate agreed to “revise and distribute their anti-harassment and anti-retaliation policies, post a notice in the workplace informing employees of the settlement and provide specialized training to all supervisors, managers and employees,” in accordance with the EEOC.

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