On December14, 2009, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a class-action settlement with national restaurant chain Bahama Breeze for $1.26 million and significant remedial relief. The case originated with 37 black workers at the company’s Beachwood, Ohio, location who claimed they were repeatedly harassed because of their race.
In the lawsuit, the EEOC charged that Bahama Breeze managers committed numerous and consistent acts of racial harassment against black employees, including frequently addressing black staff members with slurs such as “Aunt Jemima,” “home boy,” “you people,” and the “n” word. Additionally, managers allegedly imitated what they perceived to be language and mannerisms of black employees and denied them breaks while allowing breaks to Caucasian employees. Despite the employees’ complaints to management, the alleged race-based harassment continued.