A primarily African American fraternity is suing an Alabama restaurant for allegedly violating federal civil rights laws when it refused to host an event scheduled earlier this year. In the lawsuit, the fraternity claims that an African American fraternity member met with a white employee of the restaurant to finalize plans for their event. During that meeting, the fraternity member said the woman told him she did not realize the fraternity was “all black,” and that they “had problems with your kind before.”
The restaurant cancelled the group’s meeting just 17 days before the scheduled event and refunded the fraternity’s $1,500 deposit. The fraternity has filed a racial discrimination suit in federal court seeking compensation for losses suffered by cancellation of the event, and an injunction prohibiting the restaurant from discriminating against groups in the future.
The owner of the restaurant named in the lawsuit denies allegations that they violated federal civil rights laws by racially discriminating against the predominately black fraternity. The restaurant’s security firm advised the restaurant against holding the fraternity’s meeting at their facility for security concerns. The group was planning to sell event tickets to the public, which had caused problems in the past.
In 2016, a different African American fraternity hosted an event at the restaurant for 350 people, but more than 700 people showed up. The event was shut down because the number in attendance far exceeded the capacity of the facility. As the crowd dispersed, three people from the event were shot at a nearby gas station. The restaurant stated that they feared a similar situation would occur again since the fraternity opened the event to the public.
The fraternity bringing the lawsuit against the restaurant is one of the oldest African American fraternities in the United States. Its Tuscaloosa alumni chapter holds annual events to raise funds for various charities. In the past, the fraternity’s alumni have donated supplies to local elementary schools and have provided scholarships to the community college.
Federal law under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful for anyone or any institution or place of business to discriminate against an individual or group based on race, national origin, religion, sex, gender identification, age, or disability. The Alabama fraternity claims that the remarks made by the restaurant employee and the cancellation of the scheduled event are in direct violation of these laws.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of racial, religious, sex, age, national origin, gender identification, or disability discrimination, the Pennsylvania civil rights lawyers at Williams Cedar can help you claim the justice and compensation you deserve. Call us at 215-557-0099 or 856-470-9777 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located in Haddonfield, New Jersey and Philadelphia, representing clients throughout Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and across the nation.