Even the stereotypical hot-tempered chef is not immune to labor-law complaints, as Daniel Boulud, owner of the Upper East Side’s four-star restaurant, Daniel, recently learned.
The French celebrity chef faces a discrimination lawsuit from seven employees alleging he was biased against Hispanic and Bangladeshi workers, calling them derogatory names and denying them promotions.
The employees claim the restaurant reserves high-visibility, higher-paying jobs such as captain, assistant captain and lounge server for white employees because they fit the restaurant’s image, while keeping workers of color in busser and runner positions.
Representatives of the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York, an immigrant worker advocacy group, said that such discrimination is common in city restaurants.
Tip: Be aware that a slew of recent class-action lawsuits filed by minorities claim that employees were discriminated against because they didn’t project the “right look” or image. Remember, customer preference is not an excuse for discrimination.