Cheesecake Factory sued for firing worker in retaliation for discrimination complaint

A former Cheesecake Factory employee filed a wrongful termination and retaliation lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against the popular restaurant chain. She was allegedly fired in retaliation for complaining about a kitchen manager’s offensive comments about President Trump’s border wall directed toward Latino workers.

It is illegal for an employer to fire an employee for retaliatory reasons such as complaining about discrimination or reporting sexual harassment in the workplace. Under the law, employees can take legal action against their employer for wrongful termination.

Andrea Nicole Duenas worked as a server and trainer at a Cheesecake Factory in Los Angeles, California, since she was hired in April 2008. According to the lawsuit, Duenas heard the restaurant’s Caucasian kitchen manager say, “Give me fries stacked high and tall like the wall Trump is going to build” to Latino line cooks. Duenas is a Latina herself.

Duenas told Cheesecake Factory’s area director about the alleged racially motivated mistreatment of Latino kitchen workers. The director promised to investigate the matter, according to court documents. The kitchen manager allegedly continued making inappropriate remarks such as “give me some fries, Trump-style” to Latino employees. No disciplinary action was taken besides transferring her to another Cheesecake Factory location.

In contrast, Duenas’ boss cut her hours and suspended her over accusations of misusing a coupon for free cheesecake. Other workers were simply given written warnings rather than suspensions for the same mistake. Duenas was later fired over the coupon error after having worked at Cheesecake Factory for 11 years.

Employees are likely to find it challenging to prove that they were fired for illegal reasons. As a result, it is best to seek legal help from an experienced wrongful termination lawyer who can stand up to employers. Contact McCormack & Erlich today to learn more.

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