Amira Donahue Olive Garden lawsuit: Former server/hostess claims she is target of work & racial harassment after white customer demanded non black server.
A 16-year-old student has resigned from her job as an Olive Garden hostess after she says she was harassed by her coworkers for calling out workplace discrimination.
Amira Donahue and an unidentified server both claim they were targeted with racial discrimination last month when a white woman at the restaurant in Evansville, Indiana, demanded ‘a server that wasn’t black’ – with the manager on call granting the woman’s request.
The chain revealed that that they had fired the location’s manager after learning how they handled the incident.
But instead of matters subsiding, Donahue alleges work conditions and attitudes only worsening.
‘Harassed by and retaliated against by her coworkers and superiors,’
Despite the manager being terminated, Donahue alleges her co-workers began making derogatory comments about her the former server’s lawyers said.
‘After Amira spoke up about being discriminated against by an Olive Garden customer, she has been harassed by and retaliated against by her coworkers and superiors,’ local law firm Danks and Danks said in a Facebook release.
‘Amira told her superiors about the harassment and retaliation by her coworkers, and Olive Garden failed to stop it from continuing.’
The release states that Amira tried to ‘overcome the adversity’ she experienced at Olive Garden.
But she says following the firing of the manager, the work environment became ‘intolerable.’
‘I never thought I would be publicly embarrassed like I was yesterday.’
The lawyers shared that the final straw came on March 6 when Amira alleges she overheard her coworkers talking about her to each other, making comments including ‘black people will do anything for money’ and ‘I’ don’t like her.’
The law firm said they stood by Amira and hold Olive Garden ‘responsible for its treatment of employees.’
‘If there are any other employees harmed by Olive Garden’s or Darden restaurants’ employment practices or conditions, we are asking them to come forward now and stand with Amira,’ the law firm concluded.
‘Racism is still prevalent in 2020!’ Donahue posted on Facebook last weekend. ‘After years of experiencing microaggressions and attitudes simply because of my color, I never thought I would be publicly embarrassed like I was yesterday.’
@WendyWilliams That @olivegarden story was disturbing. He should have been asked to leave and the server should have been protected. Amira Donahue deserves btr than that. Do better @olivegarden at fighting racism. Don’t support it.
— Kim Kean (@kimdkean) March 10, 2020
Amira Donahue Olive Garden drama: Forced to deal with racial discrimination up close:
In an interview with WEVV, Donahue revealed that the statements from her coworkers got increasingly bad as time went on.
Told Donahue: ‘This is why we don’t hire children’, ‘He didn’t deserve this’ and ‘Are you happy the manager got fired?’
She shared that she received an apology from senior members of the team but was left jaded by the episode.
‘It’s a lot of weight on my shoulders. Especially for me. Someone going through school and also having a bunch of other stuff to deal with. Especially having to go back to that workplace every single day. I’m just trying to put on my big girl pants. Like I say, put on my face in public, and cry in private,’ she said.
Will you also continue looking into why Amira Donahue is still being harassed by her coworkers, especially since the complaint to corporate came from another customer?
— G. Mercedes McMahon (@GlendaClarke2) March 10, 2020
Olive Garden insists it does not tolerate racial and work discrimination- but do their customers and employees?
The server explained how she was targeted by racial discrimination by the female customer last month.
‘She asked for a server that wasn’t black and the manager complied and I do agree that was a bad decision at the moment,’ Donahue explained to WEHT.
Donahue shared that the woman’s fury being directed towards her.
‘She stood in the middle of the restaurant and started screaming at me in front of all of the customers,’ said the hostess.
‘The lady also made comments about me to another coworker saying that I am not family-friendly and that I should go work at a strip club instead of an Olive Garden.
‘(She asked) am I even black, am I from here, am I from America, just like offhand comments like that and referring me to the ‘other one’. ‘
‘I would never expect it to be so apparent in public like it’s 2020, not 1920 and I feel like it should take more than social media to get a problem like this out there,’ Donahue reiterated.
Olive Garden spokesman Hunter Robinson said the company does not tolerate discrimination of any type and added that senior leadership would be investigating the incident.
They also confirmed that the manager at the eatery was fired. It is not clear the race of the manager.
NAACP President Reverend Gerald Arnold stressed that they had not received a formal complaint but added that they too were investigating the incident.