A former employee of Buffalo Wild Wings is firing back at the company and suing for fostering a “racially hostile work environment” that allowed for Black customers to be discriminated against.
Gary Lovelace, an African-American cook in Overland, Kansas, said he was fired from the popular restaurant chain after 12 years for sharing concerns over how Black customers were mistreated. He claims employees were allowed to refuse service based on the belief that “Blacks don’t give good tips.”
The plaintiff’s lawyer, Gerald Gray, said Lovelace witnessed managers make racist comments against Black customers. When a new manager took the helm in late 2016 the bigoted behavior began, the Kansas City Star reports.
Lovelace said he too faced age and disability discrimination, which was often brushed off as jokes by management. And an assistant general manager introduced him to another employee as the “angry Black man”.
“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.
Lovelace also complained of being passed over for promotions and said he was given “less favorable shifts” despite his senior status with 12 years under his belt.
Another employee validated Lovelace’s claim on social media saying:
“I worked at this [Buffalo Wild Wings] location for nearly four years. Accepting environment to all races it was not,” the alleged former employee shared 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 has not released a statement about the claims.