Suit: Rosebud Restaurants not hiring black workers - FOX 32 News Chicago

Suit: Rosebud Restaurants not hiring black workers

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

One of the city's top fine dining restaurant groups is doing damage control after a federal agency filed a lawsuit accusing the company of failing to hire African-Americans.

Rosebud's restaurant group runs ten restaurants including two steakhouses and eight white tablecloth restaurants.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit after eight months of federal investigators trying to persuade the Rosebud restaurant group to follow the law. Investigators say since 2009, the Rosebud restaurant group has failed to hire qualified African-Americans at its locations in the city and suburbs.

"Rosebud, in fact, discriminated against African American applicants by failing to hire them to work at their restaurants so that's the basis for our suit," said Ann Henry, a Trial Attorney at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Furthermore, Trial Attorney Ann Henry says Rosebud failed to keep applications for at least a year. As a result, the federal agency says few, if any, of the company's 900-plus employees are African American.

"It is absolutely illegal under federal law to make hiring decisions based on race… The people that we're seeking relief for are African American applicants who were qualified and were not hired to work at Rosebud," said Henry in an interview with Fox 32's Tisha Lewis.

On Wednesday night, on its Twitter page, the restaurant group made no mention of the impending lawsuit but they did send Fox 32 News a statement saying:

"For more than thirty-five years, Rosebud Restaurants has proudly served the Chicagoland community with more than 900 current employees. We consider it our mission to treat our employees as family - with honesty and respect - and we are proud of our employment record and the diversity of our workforce. We have not, do not and will not tolerate discrimination of any type toward employees or applicants. For that reason, we take very seriously the claims asserted by the U .S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and remain confident that this process will confirm that we operate with integrity and conduct business in an ethical and legal manner."

At the heart of the investigation are qualified African-Americans who applied for positions as servers, bartenders, and kitchen staff. The federal agency says it's asking for a permanent injunction to prevent Rosebud from discriminating, ordering the restaurant group to provide equal employment opportunities for African-Americans and provide appropriate back pay with interest to a specified group of African-Americans.

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