LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Plaintiffs in a racial discrimination lawsuit against a Polk County McDonald’s restaurant allege they were the victims of retaliation.
Two of the workers say they were unjustly fired after filing the lawsuit, per the amended complaint. Another worker says she was disciplined for things she didn’t do.
“McDonald’s is committed to leading with values and does not tolerate retaliation. The allegations that employees were terminated for any reason related to ongoing litigation is categorically false,” wrote a McDonald’s USA spokesperson in a statement to 8 On Your Side.
Racial justice and worker’s rights advocates demonstrated at the Lakeland McDonald’s Tuesday afternoon by circling the restaurant and honking their horns.
Faith Booker, Monica Scott and Augusta Moody filed the lawsuit against McDonald’s in July.
They claimed the general manager at the 5525 Walt Loop McDonald’s in Lakeland created a “racially hostile work environment.”
In one instance, Scott alleges the general manager made a racially insensitive comment after a Black customer asked for ketchup and grape jelly to go along with a breakfast order.
“The GM told me that it’s always Black people who want free stuff,” she said.
The lawsuit also alleged the manager singled out Black nurses and firefighters who showed up for free meals during the COVID-19 pandemic by making them show proof of employment.
“Employer’s malicious reactions, when faced with these realities, included: pushing employees out by maintaining toxic stance, cutting hours, retaliatory firings, as well as, unfair disciplines and scheduling. Failure to listen to concerns, and by not correcting behavior; instead, choosing to dive deeper into denial, deflection and toxic culturism … employers caused additional and unnecessary harm,” wrote Vincente Carrizales, with Tampa Dream Defenders.
McDonald’s claims all decisions regarding Booker, Scott and Moody were made in compliance with company policy and based solely on performance.
Advocates also demonstrated Tuesday in support of a statewide $15/hour minimum wage.
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