CHICAGO - Chicago officials have launched an investigation into Parlor Pizza Bar after allegations that employees were not compensated for overtime work, sexual harassment of workers and claims that customers were discriminated based on their race.
The Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection (BACP) and the Chicago Commission on Human Relations (CCHR) released a joint statement Tuesday calling on those with information against Parlor Pizza Bar to come forward.
The allegations came to light after former workers at Parlor Pizza Bar told their stories to Block Club Chicago.
Several employees said that management had an unspoken policy to put white customers near the windows and Black customers in a so-called "rejection section."
They also say they had to work extra hours without overtime pay and were threatened if they refused.
Parlor Pizza Bar management has strongly rejected all the claims in the story. They issued the following statement:
"We firmly dispute these serious allegations and the blatantly false picture being painted of our restaurants, how we operate them and how we treat our valued employees and customers.
We disavow racism and any discriminatory behavior at all Parlor locations and would immediately terminate any employee who acted in such a despicable way.
Respect, dignity and professionalism are the bedrocks of our workplace policies and culture. This is more than a business to us – we care deeply about our hundreds of employees, who are hard-working, dedicated and as diverse as the customers we are proud to serve.
We will fully cooperate with any government agency reviewing our business operations and we are confident that a fact-finding process will disprove the allegations."
The BACP is encouraging current or former employees who believe they were harmed by the restaurant to contact the Office of Labor Standards by emailing email@example.com or by calling (312) 744-2211.
The CCHR is urging Parlor Pizza Bar customers who believe they were discriminated against to email firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (312) 744-4474.
All three Parlor Pizza Bar locations in Chicago were raided by investigators in late October.