In October of last year, Andrea Dee was working as a server and trainer at a Cheesecake Factory in Thousand Oaks, California. One day during her shift, she overheard her manager make a comment to the kitchen workers, most of whom were of Latino origin.
“Give me fries stacked high and tall like the wall Trump is going to build,” the female manager, who is white, told the kitchen staff according to a lawsuit filed by Dee.
Dee, who is herself Latina, confronted the manager, who allegedly dismissed her concerns and continued to make the Trump references when addressing the kitchen, all the way up until the following year.
“Give me fries Trump style,” the manager would say, according to Dee.
She eventually met with the chain’s area director and told him she felt the manager was racially harassing employees. She was assured that the matter would be taken care of. But the comments continued, and when Dee told two other managers about the comments, she says they laughed at her.
Dee’s lawsuit says the manager was eventually transferred to another location, but was never disciplined.
As NBC Los Angeles first reported, Dee said she believes that Latino cooks “appeared to be working off-the-clock more than … Caucasian employees.” Her lawsuit also alleges retaliation from the company and wrongful discharge.
Then, her work hours began to be reduced, and she was eventually suspended indefinitely without pay for allegedly misusing a coupon at the restaurant — a common mistake that other employees were disciplined with only a warning.
In May she was fired and received her final paycheck which was backdated to April.
Speaking to DeadState, Dee says that if the manager had simply apologized and ceased the comments in the first place, she would have let the whole thing go.
Dee was a longtime employee of The Cheesecake Factory. She was first hired in 2008. At the time of her firing, she was working as both a server and trainer. Her lawsuit says that she has suffered financial and emotional distress as a result of her firing.
Featured image via Flickr