Cracker Barrel restaurants agreed Monday to change their training and management practices after the Justice Department accused the nation-style chain of extensive discrimination against black diners in about 50 locations. A civil rights investigation found that black diners at Cracker Barrels in seven Southern states were routinely given tables apart from whites, seated after white customers who arrived later, and given low quality service, the department said in announcing the settlement deal.
Managers allowed white servers to refuse to hold back on black patrons, and blacks were given less favorable treatment than whites whenever they complained about service, investigators found. Interviews with dozens of employees suggested that managers ”often directed, took part in, or condoned the discriminatory behavior,” the department said.
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, a chain based in Tennessee which has 497 locations nationwide and is renowned for its country-style cooking and folksy retail stores, denied the accusations in a lawsuit that the Justice Department filed on Monday in Georgia. However in a binding agreement filed with all the lawsuit, the organization decided to wide-ranging steps to combat discrimination against black diners. And this includes are new training programs, random testing by undercover diners, the posting of nondiscrimination statements on menus, and also the hiring of your outside auditor.
The agreement ”moves https://allfoodmenuprices.org/cracker-barrel-menu forward in a direction we were already moving,” said Julie Davis, a business spokeswoman. She said that while Cracker Barrel failed to believe the accusations, it decided to the six-point plan in part in order to avoid ”protracted, distracting, costly, multiyear litigation.”
The laws under that the suit was brought did not allow the department to get money. But recently some 100 blacks have pressed discrimination claims and they are seeking money from your company in four lawsuits in Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi and N . C .. Stores there and then in Alabama, Louisiana and Virginia were subjects from the department investigation.
”It’s shocking that something similar to this still happens forty years right after the passage of civil rights legislation,” said Heidi Doerhoff, a Washington lawyer involved in the Arkansas and Mississippi lawsuits. ”It harkens to your back-of-the-bus management of African-Americans.”
Ms. Doerhoff said the widespread discrimination detected through the department was like the experiences from the dozens of plaintiffs. One black employee in a Cracker Barrel in Mississippi stated that white waitresses kaiypp pay her $3 per table to serve their black customers, Ms. Doerhoff said. As well as a black diner claimed that when he complained to some manager that whites were treated better, he was told he should go to Burger King, she said.
Her one disappointment, Ms. Doerhoff said, was that Cracker Barrel ”is unwilling to admit that it’s done anything wrong.” ”They’re still fighting tooth and nail against all of the private plaintiffs,” she said. In past months, some civil rights advocates and Democrats in Congress have accused the Bush administration of failing to aggressively pursue civil rights cases, especially those involving patterns of corporate misconduct, and they said they worried that cases like Cracker Barrel’s were permitted to lag.
But R. Alexander Acosta, the assistant attorney general for civil rights, stated that the agreement filed on Monday demonstrated the Justice Department’s resolve. ”Where we discover evidence, while we did here, that individuals for any race are receiving anything under full and equal access to public accommodations, we are going to act,” Mr. Acosta said. The N.A.A.C.P. and other civil rights advocates said that the requirements imposed on Cracker Barrel sent a strong message but that the test of the company’s image could be whether the plaintiffs won money.
”It’s unclear if this is a big black eye,” said John Relman, an attorney whose discrimination lawsuits against the Denny’s restaurant chain in early 1990’s helped result in a $54 million settlement. ”What happens with those lawsuits will really see whether Cracker Barrel gains the sort of notoriety that Denny’s did.”