An Applebee’s supervisor is suing the restaurant chain’s Middletown, N.J., franchise location, claiming she was fired after telling a customer at the bar to leave for making Islamophobic comments — a claim Applebee’s denies.
Amanda Breaud, 25, said a May 13 incident involving a customer making derogatory comments against Muslims, which multiple other customers allegedly complained about, led to a series of events that resulted in her firing.
According to Breaud, a man at the bar had said “Muslim people are disgusting,” and “most of them are terrorists.” Breaud said she asked the man to leave because of his remarks, which he eventually did, and that she earned praise from other customers bothered by the man’s statements. One of the other customers allegedly left a note on their receipt thanking Breaud for “standing up to hate and racism.”
“I didn’t want anybody to think that is something our company stands for, or I’ll ever allow," Breaud told NJ Advance Media in an interview. “That’s not my character. That’s not how I was raised.”
However, according to the lawsuit, Breaud said after the incident, the bartender complained to the manager that Breaud’s actions caused her to lose tip money. Breaud said she was reprimanded, causing her to file her own complaint with Human Resources. She alleges that the complaint was never investigated, NJ Advance Media reported.
Breaud said she also requested to be transferred to a different restaurant location, but was denied. A week after the incident, Breaud claims she was forced to miss work for a family emergency, which resulted in her firing, despite finding another coworker to cover her shift.
Breaud is suing the franchisee of the Middletown Applebee’s, as well as the general and senior manager and bartender, claiming the restaurant fostered a hostile work environment and fired her in retaliation for her actions.
In a statement to Fox News, Ed Doherty, chairman and CEO of Doherty Enterprises, the Applebee’s franchisee, refutes the claims, saying the separation was not because of the guest interaction.
“We take these accusations very seriously. We can confirm that these allegations are not true. The team member failed to come to work and the separation had nothing to do with the alleged guest interaction. We are proud that our Applebee’s restaurants serve the community as an inclusive place where neighbors can come together, and that extends to both our guests and our dedicated team members.”
Breaud is reportedly suing for back pay, benefits and punitive damages.