Lawsuit claims Buffalo Wild Wings managers allowed employees to refuse service: 'Blacks don't give good tips'

JACKSONVILLE, FL - FEBRUARY 01:  Buffalo Wild Wings exterior on February 1, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Buffalo Wild Wings)
A lawsuit is accusing Buffalo Wild Wings of racist behavior. (Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Buffalo Wild Wings)

A federal lawsuit filed on Monday by a former employee of an Overland, Kan. Buffalo Wild Wings alleges that managers repeatedly made racist comments about African-American customers and let employees refuse service to them.

The plaintiff's lawyer, Gerald Gray, states that the reason white employees gave for not serving black customers was that "blacks don't give good tips."

Gary Lovelace, a 55-year-old black man who worked as a cook at the restaurant for 12 years, was fired for reporting concerns about the discrimination he witnessed at the chain restaurant. Now, he is suing the company for fostering a "racially hostile work environment," according to the Kansas City Star.

A new general manager was introduced to the store in late 2016 or early 2017, the lawsuit notes, which is when Lovelace claims the issues began.

The lawsuit alleges Lovelace was targeted for both his age and disability, and that he was often subjected to racist comments that were written off as jokes, despite the complaints which he regularly reported to management. In one instance, Lovelace was introduced to a fellow employee as the "angry black man" by an assistant general manager.

"Mr. Lovelace became fearful and was often stressed due to the tension he faced on the job during his shifts over the last year of his employment," the suit says.

The lawsuit also states that Lovelace was denied raises and promotions, and given "less favorable shifts" despite his seniority.

In 2017, Lovelace says he was regularly disciplined for arriving late due to him becoming the caretaker of a sick relative. However, according to Lovelace, younger, non-black employees did not receive similar treatment.

In October 2017, Lovelace was ultimately fired for arriving late for work.

A fellow worker seems to back up Lovelace's claims on social media. "I worked at this [Buffalo Wild Wings] location for nearly four years. Accepting environment to all races it was not," the alleged former employee wrote on Facebook. "The victim here is a sweet and kind man, who always brightened up the shift and it hurts my heart that he was discriminated against by the staff who should have been supporting him."

Buffalo Wild Wings did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle's requests for comment.

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