On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina (OTB) has agreed to pay $100,000 to settle a “race harassment” lawsuit filed against the casual-dining chain by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced yesterday.
The suit alleged that an African-American cook at the OTB restaurant in Holtsville, N.Y., had been repeatedly subjected to racial slurs from co-workers. It contended that the restaurant became a racially hostile work environment.
In addition to paying the cook $100,000, OTB is obliged by the settlement to write a letter of apology and to hold anti-discrimination and harassment prevention training for the staffs and supervisors of the Holtsville restaurant and a unit in nearby Hicksville, N.Y. The chain’s chief people officer is required to send a message to all employees to reaffirm On The Border’s commitment to maintaining a discrimination-free environment. Any allegations of harassment within the New York stores must be reported to the EEOC for a period of three years.
“We appreciate OTB's recognition of that responsibility and its willingness to resolve this case, avoiding a protracted litigation," EEOC attorney Renay Oliver said in a statement. The suit was filed in September 2018.
OTB did not comment publicly on the settlement.
The chain consists of 129 franchisor-operated restaurants and 14 franchised stores, according to Technomic.