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Lesson: Don't Call Regular Customers Racial Slurs

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. | Last updated on

Here's a tip that all businesses should take to heart: do not call customers racial slurs on receipts. You could be sued. This is the very reason why Orange County restaurant Landmark Steakhouse is faced a lawsuit.

African-American patron Mark McHenry was a regular at the restaurant. He thought he was getting along well with the restaurant staff. That is, until he saw a glimpse of some receipts.

Restaurant employeeshad identified him using different variations of the N-word. That is when he sued for race discrimination.

The case has since settled out of court. But the lesson for business owners remains.

It is against the law to discriminate against individuals on the basis of race. This is applicable to many private businesses that can be considered "public accommodations." It includes establishments such as food, lodging, gasoline, and entertainment. Landmark Steakhouse, as a restaurant, would qualify.

This is a part of federal law. And it may be a part of your state's laws.

A similar scenario could hit you. It could even occur without your direct knowledge. After all, when you hire employees you give them certain responsibilities. You can't feasibly supervise them at all times.

But you can try to prevent discrimination by providing training. You can also inform employees of what is acceptable behavior in the workplace.

After all, your employee's actions can end up costing you if a lawsuit is filed. The Landmark Steakhouse lawsuit settled for an undisclosed amount. But the figure could be high. At least one bartender at the eatery was fired over the racial slurs on receipts, according to LAist.

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