An employee at the now-closed Englewood location of Landry’s Seafood House is suing the national restaurant chain for discrimination, bias and retaliation.
According to a Friday news release from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Iranian employee claimed that she was harassed for her national origin and, when she filed discrimination complaints, the company retaliated by firing her.
“Retaliation for raising discrimination complaints is too common in the workplace,” EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill stated in the release. “Over 50% of all EEOC charges involve retaliation complaints.”
Other Landry’s employees, including managers and supervisors, would regularly mock the employee’s accent and appearance, and treat her differently than non-Iranian employees in “ways that negatively impacted her and her pay,” the lawsuit alleged.
The lawsuit was filed by the EEOC in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado after it failed to reach a pre-litigation settlement with the Landry’s parent company.
“Workers, regardless of their country of origin, should be treated equally and fairly in the workplace,” Amy Burkholder, director of the EEOC’s Denver field office, said in Friday’s release. “An employer must take seriously any allegations that an employee is being treated differently due to their nationality, including harassment about their accent or other cultural differences.”
As part of the lawsuit, the employment commission is asking Landry’s to implement new policies and practices, including required training for all employees on discrimination, the release stated.
According to the release, the commission is also seeking compensation for the unnamed employee’s monetary losses and emotional pain, suffering and inconvenience, though an exact amount has not been released at this time.
The lawsuit filed by the EEOC said the restaurant is located in Englewood, but doesn’t specify when the employee worked there. Landry’s Englewood location on Clinton Street closed in 2020.
Landry’s Inc. did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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