A class action lawsuit which was filed on May 11 in federal court in San Francisco by two African Americans claims that McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants, Inc. systematically discriminates against Black job applicants and the lawsuit, seeks court orders to change company practices, as well as back pay and punitive damages.
Juanita Wynne, 27, has worked seven years at a company restaurant in Berkeley, Cal., where she said she is the only African American food server and is assigned to the back of the room, despite repeated requests for promotions. She said she had to take a cut in hours and pay when her white co-workers did not.
Dante Byrd, 29, said he applied twice to work at the restaurant and was turned down in spite of having seven years experience and a bartending school diploma.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs said they surveyed half of McCormick & Schmick’s restaurants and found that whites almost always hold the most visible, better-paid jobs serving food and tending bar, while Black employees usually clear tables or work in the kitchen. Further, they said that managers have been told to hire fewer African Americans, to bar them from “front-of-the-house” positions and to discipline them more harshly.