For more information, contact:
Tushar J. Sheth
AALDEF Staff Attorney
Prof. Sameer Ashar
CUNY School of Law
Vera M. Scanlon, Esq.
Beldock Levine & Hoffman LLP
Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York (ROC-NY) workers from Restaurant Daniel and the restaurant management have reached an agreement to promote diversity and equality. The agreement results in an enhanced EEOC-approved promotions policy, sensitivity and employment law training for managers, and raises for bussers and runners. The agreement was reached with the assistance and involvement of New York City Council Member Daniel Garodnick, CUNY School of Law Immigrant & Refugee Rights Clinic (CUNY IRRC), the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), and the law firm of Beldock, Levine, and Hoffman, LLP. The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund and CUNY IRRC represent several current and former Latino and Bengali busboys and runners at Daniel in a discrimination lawsuit against the restaurant that will also be resolved as a part of this agreement.
“Restaurant workers of color constantly come to us with complaints about discrimination in the industry,” says Saru Jayaraman, co-director of ROC-NY. “In this case, at Restaurant Daniel, the restaurant has responded in a positive manner. All restaurant owners should follow Restaurant Daniels example. A restaurant spokesman released a statement, The restaurant is dedicated to providing equal opportunity for all of its employees, as well as rewarding hard work and dedication.”
Jose Arenas, a former busser at Restaurant Daniel, said, I’m happy because everything is done at Daniel. People who work over there, Spanish and Bengali, now have opportunities to move up. Its good for them—they’ll make better money. I think its good for everybody.
ROC-NY’s comprehensive 2005 report on the New York City Restaurant Industry, Behind the Kitchen Door; Pervasive Inequality in New York City’s Thriving Restaurant Industry, documented pervasive discrimination against workers of color in the industry, particularly in promotion from busser and runner to higher-paying waiter and captain positions.