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Roscoe's Chicken 'n Waffles loses $1M racial discrimination suit

Anyone can potentially become the victim of workplace discrimination based on race, no matter their ethnic background. And no ethnicity excuses a business owner, executive or manager from discriminatory behavior toward subordinates.

In a local example, a former employee of Southern California chain Roscoe’s Chicken ‘n Waffles has prevailed in his discrimination suit against the company, and has been awarded more than $1 million in damages. The plaintiff, who is black, says that Latino managers at the location he worked at mistreated him because of his race.

Among his allegations: that management harassed him for being black, and that Latino co-workers enjoyed preferential treatment. For instance, they routinely received better work schedules that the plaintiff.

Though the plaintiff brought the matter to the attention of Roscoe’s human resources department, and ultimately to the business’ owner, nothing changed and he was later fired. The owner is also black, “but he gives full authority to the Hispanics to run it,” the plaintiff said.

After losing his job, the plaintiff became homeless. Now, a jury has compensated him for his ordeal. Though an article by KCBS-TV does not mention it, the size of the award suggests that it is partially made up of punitive damages. This form of damages is meant to punish defendants for especially egregious behavior. The plaintiff and his attorney hope the verdict will send Roscoe’s the message to follow the law.

It seems that most cases of racial workplace discrimination involve white managers and business owners. But all California businesses are required to treat their employees fairly, no matter their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and so on.

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