U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Dutchess Co. Pizzerias Subjected Hispanic Employees to a Hostile Work Environment Because of Their National Origin, Federal Agency Charged
NEW YORK - A small group of pizzeria restaurants based in Wappinger Falls and Fishkill in Dutchess County, N.Y., will pay $50,000 and provide other relief to settle a national origin discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Antonella's Restaurant & Pizzeria, Inc., JTA, Inc., and Dellicap, LLC, doing business as Grand Centro Grill (collectively Antonella's) discriminated against Hispanic employees by subjecting them to name calling, slurs, and creating and maintaining a hostile work environment because of their national origin. Antonella's also unlawfully demanded that the workers speak only English in the workplace without a business reason for this requirement, the EEOC said.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Case No.7:15-CV-07666) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The consent decree settling the suit, entered by U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Karas on June 22, 2017, provides that Antonella's will pay $50,000 for the discrimination victims. Also, the decree provides for extensive safeguards to prevent future discrimination by implementing anti-discrimination policies, training and problem-solving procedures.
"We are pleased that because of this settlement, Antonella's will institute policies that were previously missing and may assist in preventing future discrimination," EEOC Regional Attorney Jeffrey Burstein said.
EEOC New York District Director Kevin Berry added, "This case exemplifies the EEOC's commitment to enforcing our laws when employers discriminate against any employees, including especially vulnerable, low-wage workers in a restaurant kitchen."
Eliminating discriminatory policies affecting vulnerable workers who may be unaware of their rights under equal employment laws or reluctant or unable to exercise them is one of six national priorities identified by the agency's Strategic Enforcement Plan. These policies can include disparate pay, job segregation, harassment and trafficking.
EEOC's New York District Office oversees New York, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and parts of New Jersey.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.