Monday, March 11, 2013

Former Texas Roadhouse employee files gender discrimination suit

A former employee of the Texas Roadhouse restaurant in Ammon has filed suit against the Kentucky-based chain in the U.S. District Court of Idaho, claiming he was discriminated against because of his gender.

Tim Fenton, who was employed as a trainer, bartender and server until October 2012, has claimed the restaurant's service manager, Scott Baird, told him the chain’s regional director “only wanted girls working in the bar.” The complaint, filed March 4, also alleges that Baird told women employees to wear tank tops and shorts to work and to “flirt with every guy that sits at the bar top.”

Fenton’s attorney, Sam Angell of Idaho Falls, said his client made a formal complaint to the chain’s human resources department but heard nothing back.

According to the Texas Roadhouse in Ammon, Baird is no longer employed at the restaurant. A spokesman at the chain's corporate headquarters in Louisville told the Idaho Business Review he hadn’t seen the lawsuit so he could not comment.

In order to pursue a job discrimination lawsuit in federal court, plaintiffs must first file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. According to Angell, the EEOC determined it would not be able to complete its investigation in the required 180 days so it issued a “Notice of Right to Sue.”

According to the complaint, Texas Roadhouse managers officially fired Fenton because he used a swear word.  But the document claims other employees used similar language and kept their jobs.