Big Bucks: Bahama Breeze To Pay Over $1.2M In Racial - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Big Bucks: Bahama Breeze To Pay Over $1.2M In Racial Harassment Lawsuit

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced a class litigation settlement with national restaurant chain Bahama Breeze for $1,260,000 and significant remedial relief in a case alleging repeated racial harassment of 37 black workers at the company's Beachwood location.

In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that Bahama Breeze managers committed numerous and persistent acts of racial harassment against black employees, including frequently addressing black staff with slurs such as "n….r," "Aunt Jemima," "homeboy," "stupid n….r," and "you people."

Additionally, managers allegedly imitated what they perceived to be the speech and mannerisms of black employees, and denied them breaks while allowing breaks to white employees. Despite the employees' complaints to management, the alleged race-based harassment continued.

"No worker should ever have to endure a racially hostile work environment in order to earn a paycheck," said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. "It is particularly disturbing when managers engage in and condone the very unlawful conduct they are required to prevent and correct.

This sizeable settlement should remind employers of the possible consequences of a failure to promote and maintain a discrimination-free workplace."

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