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Applebee’s franchise worker targeted with vile homophobic, racist abuse wins legal fight

Danai Nesta Kupemba July 17, 2022
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Applebees will pay a former employee money to settle a lawsuit. (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A former Applebee’s worker has been awarded $100,000 (£84,272) after he endured homophobic and racist discrimination from colleagues.

Jebriel Teague, a gay Black man, filed a complaint with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) following constant mistreatment during his short stint of employment at a branch of an Applebee’s franchise in Plant City, Florida.

After investigating the case, the EEOC declared that the restaurant violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, colour, religion, sex, and national origin.

Teague’s mistreatment began in March 2019 when he began working as a line cook at the Applebee’s branch.

Soon his two co-workers, Cody Curby and Bobby Hogge, began throwing racial epithets and homophobic slurs his way such “f*g,” “f****t,” and “b***h”, per court documents.

They made unprofessional jokes to Teague about his sexual orientation, anal beads, dildos, and frequently used the N-word when addressing him.

Applebee’s did not investigate Teague’s claims. (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Curby even wore a confederate cap at all times, a flag which has been banned by the US military as it’s a symbol of white supremacy.

When Teague complained to the manager Dustin Johnson, he told him Hogge and Curby were just “joking” and to ignore it. After Teague brought the distressing matter up, his hours were cut in half, and continued to decrease until ultimately he quit in June 2019.

After Teague filed his complaint at EEOC, they then contacted Neighbourhood Restaurant Partners Florida, LLC (NRP), the company that owns the Applebee’s branch, and sued it on Teague’s behalf.

The EEOC lawsuit sought to correct the discriminatory practices and provide relief to Teague.

Teague will find himself $100,000 richer due to this settlement and the restaurant has also been ordered to provide the EEOC with reports of what it has done to resolve any reports of harassment.

EEOC Regional Attorney Robert Weisberg reminded people that any kind of discrimination in the work place is unacceptable and is not to be tolerated.

“Failing to take corrective action to correct a work environment permeated with racial and homophobic slurs, and, even worse, punishing an employee for reporting harassment, will not be tolerated,” Weisberg told HCA.

EEOC Chair Charlotte Burrows also commented on the case and told HCA: “This case also shows that racist slurs and paraphernalia remain a persistent problem that employers should be prepared to address in prompt and effective ways.”

More: Discrimination

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