Whataburger Restaurants is facing a sexual harassment claim from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The lawsuit relates to the fast-food chain’s retaliation against a female manager at a location in Florida.
The manager claims that her superiors put pressure on her to only hire workers who were white. When she refused, according to the suit, the Whataburger chain wrongfully terminated her in retaliation for her refusal to engage in racially-biased hiring practices.
Whataburger continues to deny the allegations, saying that it is currently performing a thorough internal investigation about what occurred. A representative for the chain said, “We value diversity in our teams and proudly employ family members of all races.” The burger chain says that 75 percent of its employee population has identified itself to be “non-white.”
The EEOC is pursuing a permanent injunction against Whataburger, which would force the burger chain to pay the woman financial damages in lost pay. It’s also seeking to force Whataburger to create policies that will protect future employees from being retaliated against if they do not engage in racist hiring practices.
The director of the EEOC’s Miami offices said to reporters, “Employees who oppose unlawful practices should feel secure in exercising that right.” One of the primary employment protections that all U.S. employees enjoy is freedom from retaliation for refusing to engage in unlawful behaviors.
If you are being pressured at your workplace to institute unlawful practices or engage in unlawful behavior, you can confidently refuse. If you suffer retaliation from your superiors as a result, you will be well within your right to lodge an employment law complaint against your company.
Source: My San Antonio, “U.S. EEOC sues Whataburger for allegedly discriminating against blacks in hiring,” Joshua Fechter, Sep. 26, 2017