Golden State Burger Company Settles Discrimination Complaint

December 16, 2005 ( - A California company has agreed to a $255,000 settlement of a lawsuit against its hamburger company alleging that a shift manager at one location racially discriminated against his co-workers.

CKE Restaurants of Carpinteria , California agreed to the fine as part of the lawsuit filed by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Sacramento Bee reported.

The harassment charges were initially filed by an 18-year-old African American woman, Michal Harris, who worked at the restaurant in 2001. The EEOC then stepped in to file the litigation on behalf of other minority workers at the restaurant who complained the shift manager boasted that he had “white pride,” and that he used racial epithets and flashed white power signs while on the job.

The incidents in the case occurred in 2001. Upset by alleged epithets from the Carl’s Jr. shift leader, Harris wrote a petition to complain to the local district manager and had eight other co-workers sign it, according to the EEOC.

A human resources manager then interviewed the shift leader about the alleged incidents, according to the EEOC. He denied any wrongdoing and, according to the EEOC, the workers who signed the petition were never interviewed.

Two weeks after submitting the written petition, Harris was fired, allegedly for eating food without paying for it. She also received a death threat on her answering machine and, without a job, was left homeless for two months, the news report said.

The settlement earmarked $105,000 for Harris and an additional $150,000 for any other minority employees who were allegedly harassed, according to the EEOC.