Red Lobster/Olive Garden company sued for discrimination

January 31, 2012

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Employees of the Capital Grille restaurants filed a lawsuit in Chicago charging that the company gives the higher paid server and waiter positions to whites. They say non-whites are relegated to kitchen and other "back of the house" duties.

The lawsuit was filed by 26 employees from the national chain, eight of the plaintiffs are from Chicago. Attorneys hope the case will become a class action lawsuit representing current and former employees, potentially thousands of people.

The lawsuit claims that the Capital Grille restaurants are trying to cultivate a high-end image and that servers of color do not fit that image. They say the cooks and dishwashers are almost all African American while almost all the servers are white.

Capital Grille is owned by the Darden company, which also owns Red Lobster and the Olive Garden. The company says they believe the claims are baseless but will investigate them thoroughly.