A gay couple and their co-worker are seeking $14.5Million in damages against the BLT Steakhouse in Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. for discrimination in the workplace. Among the allegations is that a co-worker told one of the plaintiffs, Irving Smith, Jr., “‘This is white America time, you need to get used to it, and if you don’t get used to it you should go work somewhere else.’” When Smith complained to management, it “fell on deaf ears.”
In a civil complaint filed Wednesday morning in D.C. Superior Court, Hill, a former BLT employee, and Smith, a current one, allege that the Trump Organization and hotel managing director Mickael Damelincourt saw to it that the restaurant routinely steered black employees to less lucrative shifts and subjected them to discriminatory behavior by other staff and by guests. The two men [Dominique Hill, Irving Smith, Jr.] are joined in the case by another former BLT employee, JaNette Sturdivant. [...]
Smith, who works as a BLT server, said he was demoted to assistant server early on and rarely given prime shifts, where weekly earnings averaged $600 to $1,500 and which allegedly went instead to newly hired white and Latino employees.
“They started hiring all these people and instead of putting them on day shifts they was giving them night shifts and keeping us on day shift. Next thing I know, within the month all the black people were on the day shift,” he said.
The suit cites other allegedly racist behavior by some guests, and it describes a working environment where, for instance, a staff memo posted in the kitchen details how the staff ought to handle $39 ostrich eggs for a dish that includes a photo of an ostrich chasing a black man.
Hill said he was fired after dropping a bloody mary on a baby in a stroller at a weekend brunch; you might say “fair enough” until you hear Hill say that a white server who spilled an open bottle of champagne down a bride’s dress wasn’t even suspended, let alone fired.
What sayeth the defendants? “We look forward to litigating this matter,” says Trump Organization spokeswoman Amanda Miller.
“Rather, the plaintiffs worked for a third-party restaurant company that is solely responsible for the direction, supervision, and management of its own employees. In short, this lawsuit appears to be nothing more than a desperate, politically-motivated publicity stunt.”
Do I hear an echo? That is what Kellyanne Conway said about the Trump Russia investigation. She told Fox News last month, “This was supposed to be the next Watergate. We haven't even seen a watermelon.” Be patient, Kellyanne, Bob Mueller is still in the kitchen and he's not done.