Kansas Buffalo Wild Wings accused of turning away black customers

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A former employee of a Kansas Buffalo Wild Wings filed a lawsuit Monday in the state district court alleging the company fostered a "racially hostile work environment."

According to the Kansas City Star, the plaintiff's lawyer said white employees refused to serve black customers because, they said, "blacks don't give good tips." Managers OK'd the decision, and according to the lawsuit, the managers themselves often made derogatory comments about African American customers.

When ex-employee Gary Lovelace, a 55-year-old black man, reported discrimination concerns, he was fired.

Lovelace had worked as a cook at the restaurant for 12 years and noticed a shift in company culture with a new general manager hire between 2016 and 2017, according to the lawsuit.

He recalled being “consistently subjected to racial comments that were dismissed as jokes despite his complaints,” the Star reported. For example, Lovelace said he was referred to as the “angry black man,” was refused breaks from working in the freezer despite his asthma concerns, and was asked to take out the trash and clean the floors, though that wasn’t in his job description.

According to the lawsuit, younger, nonblack employees did not receive similar treatment.

“Buffalo Wild Wings values an inclusive environment and we have no tolerance for discrimination of any kind,” a company spokesperson told the Star Thursday. The chain is investigating the claims.

The AJC has also reached out to Buffalo Wild Wings for comment.

Read more at kansascity.com.