TGIF Restaurant Sued for Race Discrimination

The suit reveals management referred to the old location as 'the ghetto store'


A TGI Fridays eatery in Manhattan is facing a lawsuit after ten black former employees claim they were fired and replaced with workers, mostly Hispanic, of a lighter skin complexion. The restaurant closed its Midtown location and opened about a block away. Only one of the black employees was rehired, as reported by New York Daily News.

Employees claim that when they challenged the staff restructure, a manager explained that he preferred Hispanic workers because they “work harder.” One of the plaintiffs Lisa Baker says her old manager told her that serving jobs weren’t available at the new location. “It was their opinion that black people were lazy,” she says. “We weren’t even given a chance.”

The suit reveals that management referred to the old location as “the ghetto store.” Plantiff Tony Pringle also touched on the subject, stating, ““They knew exactly what they were doing. They were basically not hiring blacks.” Now, the former wait staff have hired lawyers, and are seeking $500,000 for each employee, totaling $5 million for “loss of wages, emotional distress and punitive damages.” Lawyer Matthew Blit said, “The only reason these people are not working right now is because of their skin. “Heck, this isn’t the 1950’s.”
What are your thoughts on this issue? Share them with us below.

  • Sieben713

    Hit them where it counts ( Their pockets ), that’s the only thing they understand

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  • BigSeannY

    Nothing new,I filed racial discrimination charges against Radio City Music Hall.I’m seeking backpay,punitive damages myself and emotional distress.

  • Dr. Jones

    We were basically refused service at the ManhattanTGIF. Not only did they seat others before us, they never took our order even though they took orders of folks seated after us. Our waitress was Hispanic. When I noted these differences, she became defensive and argumentative. We left. Itcwasvthevone near the Empire State Bldg.

    • gigi grant

      This is the store that is featured in the article… It was not by accident that you all were ignored. servers would run the other way when black people were seated in their section and at times would outright refuse to serve them or even address them, in the hopes that they would become pissed off and leave….

  • gigi grant

    They did not only discriminate against employees. The company and its employees have a tendency to not want to wait on customers of black or Hispanic origin because the running joke is that they do not tip, are demanding and overall unpkeasant.. Assholes. Riese and his minions.

  • gigi grant

    We were told that the new store was no longer hiring but we could pass out coupons on the street for ten dollars an hour in the cold if we just needed to make some money for the holidays. Or we could help pack up the old store to make money; Meanwhile, they were conducting interviews with new, younger, Latina workers and advertising the same jobs that they claim were no longer available on Craig’s List. Even the former General Manager, that was also unceremoniously let go after being passed over and subsequnently fired, admitted that they were biased and fucked up!!

  • gigi grant

    Oh, and he was black too. Loyal employee for twenty plus years and treated like a field nigger at the end….

  • gigigrant

    I would tell people of color to not frequent ANY of the TGIFridays in the city, as most if not all of them are under the Riese Restaurant umbrella. But this is what they would like for you to do. But should you ever find yourself at one of their establishments and get the eerie feeling that you are being ignored, forgotten, or otherwise treated like TRASH, it is NOT in your mind…… they dont LIKE YOU.

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  • Ria Pendergrass

    After they settle this lawsuit, investigate the TGIF in Dearborn, MI. near Fairlane Mall.

  • Tracy

    Oh, this lousy location that initiated my ban on ALL TGIF. I don’t feel sorry for them at all! Maybe if you had even an ounce of what it means to give customer service and acted like you gave a crap about your job, maybe more than just one of you would have been retained. You guys sucked! You deserved to not get re-hired. I hope that judge laughs your asses right out of that courtroom. This is what happens when you treat work like a hangout spot or a ride on the train. Oh. And by the way? I am black.

    • David D

      @Tracy. I find that people online that feel the need to say “I am black” usually aren’t.

  • Tarelle

    I wrote a letter to the company letting them know I would not support any company that does not promote professional growth and provide equal opportunity for all races. I suggest they spend funds to train the staff on expected behaviors rather than discriminating against someone based on skin color because they assume these people as “ghetto” or “lazy”.

  • Chuck Lane

    I’ve worked as a server/bartender half of my life and have come to the realization that my experience & work ethic apparently does not matter as much as I believed it would/should.
    Once again I find myself looking for full time work after being terminated “for no reason” that I was made aware of. I’ve only been to TGIF a few times over the last 5 years , & have never worked for that company-
    From what I can tell , discrimination is RAMPANT in restaurant businesses & blatantly advertised via some job searches I’ve done, mainly male/female from my point of view, being an experienced bartender/mixologist for the last 12 years or so. My sexual orientation and the color of my skin has nothing to do with my job performance /professionalism.
    I no longer believe that discrimination on any level has ever ‘went away’. The next time I get asked if I have any questions during future interviews, you better believe that I certainly do, & will expect rational answers!

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