Home > Civil Rights, Law, Uncategorized > Fired Jacksonville waitresses file federal lawsuit against Cracker Barrel

Fired Jacksonville waitresses file federal lawsuit against Cracker Barrel

Fired Jacksonville waitresses file federal lawsuit against Cracker Barrel

Fired Jacksonville waitresses file federal lawsuit against Cracker Barrel Fired Jacksonville waitresses file federal lawsuit against Cracker Barrel Source URL: http://jacksonville.com/news/crime/2010-09-10/story/fired-jacksonville-waitresses-file-federal-lawsuit-against-cracker  By Jim Schoettler  Two former Jacksonville waitresses have filed a civil rights lawsuit against Cracker Barrel saying the national restaurant chain fired them in retaliation for reporting discrimination against black customers by two co-workers.  The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Jacksonville on behalf of Karen Hutcheson, 60, and Heather Ellis, 35. The women already have a discrimination case pending against Cracker Barrel that was filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last month. The lawsuit does not ask for any specific damages.  Hutcheson and Ellis were fired Aug. 8, four months after Hutcheson sent the Tennessee-based company an unsigned letter saying a hostess and waiter, who were girlfriend and boyfriend, conspired to ensure that the waiter got better tips by seating only white patrons in his section. Hutcheson told The Florida Times-Union last week that she sent the letter.  Hutcheson and Ellis also said the waiter was getting more customers than them or co-workers. The women said the company launched an investigation, then fired them on allegations that they discriminated against black customers. The two women have denied those claims.  A Cracker Barrel spokeswoman said the company took appropriate action based on the investigation. The co-workers named by the fired waitresses are still employed by Cracker Barrel, though the hostess is apparently now waiting tables.  As with the Equal Employment Opportunity complaint, the lawsuit says the company had no grounds to fire the women and did so to retaliate against them for being whistleblowers.  Eric Jones, the Jacksonville attorney representing the women, said he intends to clear his clients’ names.   “They did a witchhunt investigation that was self-servi

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