Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: Pennsylvania Restaurant Franchise Settles “Class-Action Discrimination Lawsuit”; Employees Denied Promotion Can Get Compensation For “Lost Opportunities”

The lawsuit said that the company relegated black employees to  back-of-the-kitchen work and denied them promotional opportunities…Under the settlement, anyone who worked for Covelli’s Panera franchises from  Jan. 11, 2008, through Jan. 11, 2012, for more than one year, and applied for or  wanted a promotion, can get compensation for alleged lost opportunities…for  each hour worked after their first year, they can get 70 cents — roughly what  they would have gotten through a one-level promotion.

Around 200 to 300 current or former employees of Panera Bread franchisee  Covelli Enterprises stand to get payments under a class action lawsuit  settlement that won preliminary approval from a federal judge at a hearing  today.

Attorney Sam Cordes, who represents Mr. Vines and the class of employees,  told U.S. District Chief Judge Gary Lancaster that the settlement terms will  soon be published in newspapers in areas in which Covelli franchises  operate.

Judge Lancaster gave the settlement his initial nod, though he is expected to  hold a hearing to hear any objections from class members. Neither Mr. Cordes nor the attorney for Covelli would comment after the  hearing. Neither had an estimate of the costs to the firm.

In addition to the payments to black employees, Mr. Vines would get $10,000  and Mr. Cordes $66,000 under the settlement agreement.

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Filed under Claims, Insurance, Labor Issues, Liability, Management And Ownership, Risk Management

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