ROSENBERG, Texas - A Houston couple is currently in court proceedings after claiming they were racially discriminated against at a Chili’s location in Rosenberg.
The claim goes back to 2017 when the incident happened, Sharnez and her now-husband, Kevin Hager, filed a lawsuit, it was later dropped by a trial court. Their attorney, Brian Trachtenberg, has now filed an appeal with the 5th Circuit Court.
"She apologized for not treating me special, I said I didn’t need to be treated special," said Ms. Hager. "She then said, I apologized for discriminating against you."
Trachtenberg is hopeful, the appellate court will overturn the trial court's previous decision.
"We have far more than Sharnez’s subjected belief," said Brian Trachtenberg, Attorney, Greathouse Holloway McFadden Trachtenberg.
Sharnez tells FOX 26, she went into the restaurant with family members she recently reconnected with.
She was told by the hostess at the time, there would be a wait. Ms. Hager then asked to be seated at an open table she noticed. The hostess told her that table was reserved.
Kevin tells us he was finishing up some business in his car and asked his wife to go inside and get a table. He came in about 15 minutes later and decided to check in with the same hostess.
"I went up to the same hostess she went up to and said, ‘I need to get a table, I have a large party coming,'" said Mr. Hager. "The hostess said, no problem you can take that table over there."
Kevin says the hostess pointed at the same table his wife had previously asked for. The Hagers tell FOX 26, they were taken aback and angered.
"When I told her he was my fiancé, she was like oh I’m so sorry," said Ms. Hager.
"I never really had that happen to me, so once I really realized what was going on, I was visibly upset," said Mr. Hager.
According to court documents, the hostess and general manager were written up.
The hostess was disciplined for making the Hagers wait in a quote: "false wait."
The GM was disciplined for not coaching his employees on the bias video enough.
We did reach out to the company, a spokesperson for Brinker International, Inc., tells us in a statement:
"We embrace and welcome diversity among our Team Members and our Guests. We investigated the incident and did not find any discriminatory behavior. We do not tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind. That’s not who we are."