January 23, 2015
“There are too many black people in the store”
The Washington Post reported this week that a group of black and Latino McDonald’s workers in South Boston, Virginia, working with the local branch of the NAACP, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in the US District Court of Western Virginia against McDonald’s. The suit alleges that the company targeted minority workers and that top-level management regularly harassed black and Latino workers.
In a federal civil rights lawsuit filed Thursday, 10 former workers at three McDonald’s locations in Virginia allege that they were unceremoniously fired last May after being told by supervisors that there were “too many black people” working at the franchises.
The lawsuit, filed this morning in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, alleges that high-ranking supervisors regularly referred to one of the branches as the “ghetto store” and referred to black workers as “ghetto” and “ratchet,” and that one supervisor sexually harassed female employees.
The employees, nine of whom are African American and one of whom is Hispanic, said in the complaint that the mass firings of 17 minority staff members came in May and that store managers told them at the time that it was “too dark” in the restaurants and that they “need to get the ghetto out of the store.”
“All of a sudden, they let me go, for no other reason than I ‘didn’t fit the profile’ they wanted at the store,” Willie Betts, who was a cook at one of the McDonald’s franchises, said in a statement.“I had no idea what they meant by the ‘right profile’ until I saw everyone else that they fired as well.”