MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An Italian restaurant in Memphis is reportedly being sued over claims that an employee was subjected to homophobia and later fired.
Friday, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it is suing Amerigo Italian Restaurant on Ridgeway Road.
The EEOC claims that the restaurant violated federal law when it “subjected an employee to sexual orientation discrimination and discharged the employee in retaliation after he complained of the discrimination.”
According to the EEOC, the restaurant’s managers allowed staff members to use homophobic slurs, insults, and “discriminatory attacks” against a gay employee. The EEOC says the employee complained about the way he was being treated but nothing was done and the harassment continued for months.
The EEOC claims the employee was later fired for reportedly not showing up to work and not notifying a supervisor. The EEOC says that the employee had actually reached out to the restaurant’s managers for assistance.
The EEOC says the restaurant violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and retaliation against an employee.
The EEOC is reportedly suing for “monetary relief in the form of back pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages”, as well as an injunction that would “prevent Amerigo from engaging in further discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.”
Edmond Sims, acting director of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, released a statement, saying, “The Supreme Court has made clear that discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation is unlawful. The EEOC remains committed to holding accountable those employers who violate the rights of their employees.”