According to reports, a Panda Express branch in San Jose received a lawsuit from workers who claim the restaurant was guilty of discrimination.
In their lawsuit, the Latino plaintiffs allege they were forced to conduct menial tasks, such as cleaning bathrooms, tables and counters, while the branch's Asian American workers sat and watched. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiffs, who claim the establishment conducted these actions between 2008 and 2009.
Court documents also showed that the Panda Express location assigned Latino workers to less-desirable assignments and shorter hours, while holding them to higher standards than Asian American employees. In addition, the plaintiffs allege they were punished more harshly than other employees.
"Under California employment laws and regulations it is illegal to mistreat employees because of their national origin, race or religion," said Jeffrey Keller, the plaintiff's lawyer. "This is exactly what the San Jose Panda Express is being accused of. It not only has humiliated the Latino employees, it created a hostile work environment, which no one should have to endure."
The case highlights the importance of companies across all industries acting in accordance with employment laws and other federal regulations. Committing actions deemed to be in violation of these laws may result in similar professional liability lawsuits.