The Olive Garden hostess who spoke out following an alleged incident of racial discrimination by a customer is calling it quits and reportedly plans to sue the restaurant.
Attorneys for Amira Donahue, 16, confirmed the hostess resigned from her position last weekend due to what she describes as a hostile work environment, the Courier & Press reports. The teen alleges retaliation and harassment by her superiors since the incident.
“After [Ms. Donahue] spoke up about being discriminated against by an Olive Garden customer, she’s been harassed by and retaliated against by her co-workers and superiors,” Indiana-based law firm Danks & Danks wrote in a Facebook post. “Amira told her superiors about the harassment and retaliation by her co-workers, and Olive Garden failed to stop it from continuing.”
Attorneys said the teen tried her best to withstand the bullying, but her environment simply became intolerable.
“The final straw happened yesterday evening when Amira overheard a coworker say, ‘black people will do anything for money’ and ‘I don’t like her,’” the law firm said in a weekend Facebook post.
Donahue was the hostess on duty on Feb. 29 at the Evansville eatery when she claims she was singled out and ridiculed by a customer who loudly demanded to be served by non-Black wait staff. The young hostess says the woman also hurled disparaging remarks her way.
“The lady also made comments about me to another co-worker saying that I am not family-friendly and that I should go work at a strip club instead of an Olive Garden,” she told local station WEHT. “[She asked] ‘am I even black, am I from here, am I from America,’ — just like offhand comments like that and referring me to the ‘other one.’ ”
Two other Black employees were reportedly targeted in the attack.
A manager who complied with the customer’s request not to be served by Black staff was promptly fired after an investigation.
“We have zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind, and the manager involved no longer works for our company,” according to a statement from Olive Garden corporate.
On Monday, Danks & Danks said it will file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Donahue’s behalf. A former Olive Garden worker who also quit the restaurant the same day as Donahue is also being represented by the firm, attorney Brandon Danks confirmed.
That former server hasn’t yet come forward and isn’t being named.
Attorneys for Donahue say they fully support her decision to resign and lauded the teen for standing strong in the face of adversity.
“We will continue the fight for Amira and hold Olive Garden responsible for its treatment of employees,” the law firm concluded.
Atlanta Black Star reached out to Danks & Danks for comment and is awaiting response.