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Judge denies motion to dismiss race bias case against steakhouse chain


A U.S. District Court judge has refused to dismiss a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against a Chicago restaurant chain, stating it is not necessary to specifically identify the victims of racial discrimination.

The EEOC charged Rosebud Restaurants Inc. with racial discrimination in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago in September 2013, stating that the company failed to recruit and hire African-Americans in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Rosebud Restaurants et al.

Defendants in the case argued that the complaint should be dismissed because it did not name an individual who was impacted by the discrimination, as required by Title VII, according to Tuesday’s ruling by Judge Andrea R. Wood.

“This argument is not supported by the language of Title VII,” says Judge Wood in her ruling. She said the EEOC has authority to bring a civil action in its own name. This weighs “in opposition to defendants’ argument that the EEOC must name an aggrieved individual to state a sufficient claim for relief in the present case,” said the ruling, in denying the motion to dismiss the case.

“The EEOC’s complaint alleges claims of widespread race discrimination. Those kinds of claims are a priority for us,” said Chicago Regional Attorney John Hendrickson, in a statement. “The denial of Rosebud’s motion to dismiss means that EEOC now is going to have the opportunity to put them to the test and, if we are successful, to obtain changes in hiring practices, as well as specific relief for the victims of any found discrimination.”

Rosebud’s attorneys could not immediately be reached for comment.

In September 2014, restaurant chain McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants Inc. agreed to pay $1.3 million to resolve an EEOC-class race discrimination lawsuit in which it was charged with refusing to hire African-Americans for front-of-the-house positions at its two Baltimore restaurant locations.

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