When you hear about a racial discrimination lawsuit, you may assume that the victim is a minority. However, in this case you’d be wrong.
A 39-year-old white line cook has filed a workplace discrimination suit against Eataly, Mario Batali’s famed food hall, after he says he was subjected to bullying and harassment. According to the lawsuit, the victim says he was the only white man working in the kitchen with a bunch of Hispanic employees. He says he was constantly berated with insults and called names in Spanish.
The victim, who quit after two months of abuse, says he was referred to as ‘gringo’ around the kitchen, and that other employees would call him ‘pendejo’, ‘estupido’, and other names.
How Did Management Respond?
The victim went to supervisors and management multiple times to try and remedy the situation, but was ignored, or told to “keep quiet” every time. Management is supposed to create and enforce a healthy, professional atmosphere, which it most certainly is not doing if these allegations of racial discrimination are true.
The victim says he went to his immediate supervisor about the hostile work environment, but was told to “keep quiet or things would get harder.” When he went higher up the food chain, he was told to “forget” the insults, and then to “hang in there.” At one point he was even told that ‘gringos’ don’t work well with Mexicans, and that if a ‘gringo’ were to run the kitchen, it wouldn’t work.
The victim has since moved on and works in a different restaurant. A spokesman for Eataly has denied the allegations of racial discrimination, adding that the restaurant’s staff is “culturally diverse” and that the discrimination case is unfounded.