A Panda Express restaurant in San Jose required its Latino counter clerks to clean up the restrooms, tables and counters while Asian American employees looked on, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in a discrimination suit yesterday.
The fast-food restaurant, on El Paseo de Saratoga, also gave Latino workers less-desirable assignments and shorter hours, held them to a higher standard and disciplined them more severely than its Asian employees, the EEOC said.
The agency said its lawsuit covered a period from about mid-2008 to mid-2009 and that the restaurant has improved its practices under new management.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, accused Panda Restaurant Group of discrimination based on national origin. The EEOC is seeking damages for Latino employees.
In a statement released by the agency, employee Aremy Lomely said the restaurant’s former general manager divided Latino workers from Asian Americans.
“I felt so ashamed when the Asian workers watched me obediently run from the bathrooms to the tables to the counters, cleaning when they did not have to,” Lomely said.