EEOC Files Lawsuit Against Houston-Based Seafood Restaurant

July 14, 2003

Source: HR Next

On July 14, 2003 HR Next reported that "The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit against Pesce, Ltd., a Houston-based upscale seafood restaurant, for post-9/11 backlash discrimination. The agency alleges the restaurant fired Karim El-Raheb, a general manager, because of his Egyptian ancestry shortly after the attacks on New York and Washington... The case is the EEOC's fifth lawsuit to date charging employers with unlawful backlash discrimination related to the events of Sept. 11, 2001... The EEOC's suit, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, says that shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, Pesce's co-owner Damian C. Mandola began making repeated references in front of the restaurant staff and patrons that El-Raheb could 'pass for Hispanic' and should change his name to 'something Latin.' Moreover, Mandola fired El-Raheb in November 2001 after openly speculating that his Egyptian name and physical appearance were to blame for Pesce's decline in earnings in the months following the terrorist attacks, the lawsuit alleges."