Class Action Suit Against TGI Friday’s Restaurant Focuses on Racial Discrimination

Here’s a New York discrimination story that’s sparked thousands of conservations (and no doubt many arguments as well) among residents of the entire Big Apple.

The chain restaurant, TGI Friday’s, recent closed its Manhattan location and opened another restaurant only a block away. Workers from the old location claim that management told them they would have a chance to apply for positions at the new store. They never got the opportunity.

Critics claim that the TGI Friday’s new location opened with new, lighter skinned workers. Just one black employee from the old location successfully transitioned to the new location. According to a New York Daily News article, former employees allege that managers consistently and openly “referred to the old location as ‘the ghetto store.’” They also say that, in response to protesting Hispanic employees, management told them to “work harder.”

The suit against the parent company, National Restaurants Management Inc., seeks $500,000 in reparations for each slighted employee. If the plaintiffs win, the company will need to pay $5 million total to former employees.

A National Restaurants Management Inc. spokesperson highlighted the company’s 75-year history of diversity, in contrast to the narrative being pushed by these former employees.

Discrimination comes in a number of different forms. Look for these signs that your workplace may be discriminating against you or others, and speak out against any unethical behavior:

•    Management consistently gives certain employees tasks or projects that may be perceived as stereotypical.

•    Management regularly excludes certain employees from performing tasks or taking on responsibilities based on factors other than merit.

•    A colleague or boss makes sexual or inappropriate comments that lead to hurt feelings at the office. Once alerted, management fails to take action to end the behavior and/or reprimand those responsible.

•    The company promotes or hires people based on race, gender, sexual orientation or religion or rejects or demotes employees based on these factors.

If you have experienced mistreatment at work — or if you have strong reason to believe that non-job related criteria (e.g. gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, race, etc.) has played a role in hiring or firing decisions — don’t stay silent. Taking action may seem scary, but the law protects you against employer retaliation.

If you need assistance with a harassment, discrimination or wage and hour case from a qualified and experienced New York employment law firm, call Joseph & Kirschenbaum, LLP today at 1 (212) 688-5640, or email us at

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