In a federal lawsuit filed on August 12, 2021 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, captioned EEOC v. Neighborhood Restaurant Partners Florida, LLC, Case No. 8:21-cv-01931-VMC-JSS, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission asserts that the defendant, doing business as Applebees, violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, subjected a black line cook to a hostile work environment based on his sexual orientation and race, and retaliated against him for complaining.
From the EEOC press release regarding the suit:
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the employee’s workplace was permeated with racial and homophobic slurs. In addition to using anti-gay and racist epithets, Applebee’s employees wore Confederate flag paraphernalia. When the line cook complained about the treatment, he was told to “ignore it,” and his hours were drastically cut, and he was forced to quit his job because of all this mistreatment.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its suit (EEOC v. Neighborhood Restaurant Partners Florida, LLC, Case No. 8:21-cv-01931-VMC-JSS) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
“Over one year ago, the Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia that the protections of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 apply to individuals who are discriminated in the workplace based on their sexual orientation,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Robert E. Weisberg. “While the EEOC recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Bostock decision, this case demonstrates that the work is not over. The EEOC will aggressively investigate, and, if necessary, prosecute employers that violate the rights of their LGBTQ employees.”
EEOC Tampa Field Office Director Evangeline Hawthorne added, “When an employer learns about discrimination in the workplace, it must take prompt action designed to stop the behavior. All too often, however, we see employers making a bad situation worse by retaliating against the victim rather than taking steps to stop the harass¬ment. The EEOC will hold employers accountable for their actions.”