Bahama Breeze pays $1.3 million to settle racial harassment lawsuit

The Bahama Breeze restaurant chain agreed to settle an EEOC racial harassment lawsuit filed on behalf of 37 black workers at the Bahama Breeze restaurant in Beachwood, Ohio.  Bahama Breeze has agreed to pay $1.26 million to settle the lawsuit.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had accused managers at the Beachwood restaurant of ongoing acts of racial harassment and workplace bullying directed against its black workers.  Black workers were frequently called offensive names such as “stupid n—–r,” “homeboy,” “Aunt Jemima,” and “you people.” 

Managers would imitate the stereotypical black mannerisms and speech.  In addition, black workers were often denied breaks while their white coworkers were allowed breaks.  Even though the workers complained about the harassment, Bahama Breeze management did not stop the abusive behavior.

EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru said, “No worker should ever have to endure a racially hostile work environment in order to earn a paycheck.  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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