OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - A former Buffalo Wild Wings employee claims that their managers allowed employees to discriminate against black customers.
Gary Lovelace reportedly worked as a cook at the Overland Park, Kan., location for 12 years before being fired in October 2017. He claims that his troubles began when a new general manager was hired in late 2016 or early 2017.
Now, he’s suing Buffalo Wild Wings and their parent company, Inspire Brands, for creating a “racially hostile work environment,” The Kansas City Star reports. According to the suit, managers at the restaurant made derogatory comments about African-American customers. They also reportedly allowed employees to refuse service to these customers.
Lovelace’s lawyer, Gerald Gray, claims that their reasoning was “blacks don’t give good tips,” The Kansas City Star reports.
The suit also alleges that Lovelace was once referred to as the “angry black man,” and that he was also discriminated against because of his age and disability.
A spokesperson for Buffalo Wild Wings supplied Fox News with the following statement: “While we do not comment on pending litigation specifically, we take the allegations very seriously and are conducting an internal investigation. Buffalo Wild Wings values an inclusive environment and we have no tolerance for discrimination of any kind.”
In response to the story, someone claiming to be a former employee backed up certain elements of Lovelace’s claims. In a Facebook post where she describes him as a “sweet and kind man,” the social media user claims that the restaurant was not an accepting environment to all races. According to the post, "The victim here is a sweet and kind man, who always brightened up the shift and it hurts my heart that he was discriminated against by the staff who should have been supporting him."
Another user responded to her post, claiming to be a current employee. According to them, a new general manager is working at the restaurant, who they describe as “super woke and sweet.” Their post says, "I just do not want a good woman, the new GM, to get negative attention for the wrongdoings of the management before her."
It’s unclear why the general manager working at the restaurant when Lovelace was fired is no longer at that location.
Lovelace's attorney supplied the following statement to Fox News: "We filed the lawsuit based on the facts and experiences Mr. Lovelace faced during his 12 years of employment at Buffalo Wild Wings. We intend to litigate this matter in Court and Buffalo Wild Wings will have the opportunity to defend these allegations. Our goal is not only to obtain justice for Mr. Lovelace but to ensure things like those alleged in the lawsuit don't continue in today's America. There are laws that protect against this type of behavior and if you believe you've experienced discriminatory or retaliatory treatment, seek help. Based on the public response since this story broke, we are confident in our case and if anyone believes they have information related to the allegations in the lawsuit, please contact Mr. Lovelace’s attorney.”