New York, NY—Seven workers from the upscale Manhattan restaurant Daniel have filed a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court alleging intentional employment discrimination and harassment on the basis of their race, color, ethnicity, alienage, and national origin, and violations of their rights under federal and state laws governing fair wages. The Latino and Bangladeshi plaintiffs, who are members of the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York (ROC-NY), are represented by the Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund (AALDEF) and Main Street Legal Services of the CUNY School of Law. The restaurant is owned by head chef Daniel Boulud and The Dinex Group.
According to the federal suit filed yesterday, Daniel has consistently denied the plaintiffs promotions to higher-paying positions of Captain, Assistant Captain, and Lounge Server while promoting white workers with the same or lesser skills, experience or seniority. Daniels promotion practices reveal a two-track system whereby managers give white workers greater opportunities to move quickly to higher-paying, higher-status positions while denying those opportunities to Latino and Bangladeshi workers, who remain in the lower-paying and more physically demanding Busser and Runner positions, according to the complaint.
The suit also alleges that Boulud and his restaurant managers subjected the plaintiffs to a hostile work environment and disparate treatment by disciplining them more harshly than white workers. Additionally, restaurant management made insulting comments about Latino and Bangladeshi employees’ race and ethnicity and singled them out for verbal abuse.
Daniel restaurant also allegedly failed to pay two of the plaintiffs, a busser and a prep cook, federal and state minimum wage and overtime pay, despite their working more than 40 hours a week.