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New Jersey Applebee's Fires Supervisor For Forcing Islamophobic Customer To Leave, Lawsuit Alleges

SOPA Images / Getty Images; McOmber and McOmber Law Firm

If you have someone making bigoted comments very loudly in a private establishment, the best thing to do is leave them alone, right?

That's the advice a former supervisor claims Applebee's wanted followed, after alleging she was fired for asking a bar patron to leave for making derogatory comments about Muslims.


Amanda Breaud filed a lawsuit over the incident.

In the lawsuit filed last week, Breaud claimed she was temporarily transferred to an Applebee's location with a "hostile work environment."

The lawsuit alleges that a senior manager of the restaurant "routinely directed racist and discriminatory language" at employees.

At one point, after an employee's uncle passed away, Breaud alleges the manager said:

"Well, this is one less black guy we have to worry about."




However that is in addition to the incident at the center of her lawsuit. On May 13, several customers complained to Breaud about a bar patron loudly making derogatory comments about Muslims.

The customer is alleged to have said things such as:

"Muslim people are disgusting,"
"Most of them are terrorists,"

...and:

"If it were up to me, none of those motherf***ers would be allowed in the country."

Breaud's lawsuit claims the bartender serving the customer participated in the conversation and did nothing to stop it.

After two other customers complained, Breaud asked the customer to leave. He was angry and yelled, but did leave the restaurant.

Breaud said several customers thanked her for removing him, with one even leaving a note on their receipt.

McOmber and McOmber Law Firm

However, after this, Breaud experienced retaliation from management and the bartender.

While the bartender only complained to other staff about losing tips from the regular customer, management from the restaurant was more active.

The general manager called Breaud to berate her for asking the customer to leave. He suggested that she should have had the customers who complained move to a different part of the restaurant.

He also claimed she couldn't stop bar patrons from "discussing religion."





Breaud couldn't take the work environment anymore, and requested to be sent back to her original restaurant. The request was denied and she was scheduled to work at the "hostile" Applebee's.

She refused the schedule and was fired, as the lawsuits states:

"...due to a false and retaliatory accusation that she had not appeared for one of her shifts."

After being fired, Breaud wrote a letter to the restaurant criticizing the work environment and her manager's coaching about the interaction.

Breaud said:

"That is not the message I want to send my guests. I want them to feel safe and leave WOWed."
"I would leave there in tears a lot of the time, honestly. I had severe anxiety. I was losing sleep...It wore me down mentally and physically the entire thing."

Ed Doherty, chairman and CEO of Doherty Enterprises, which operates the Applebee's in question, claims Breaud's allegations had nothing to do with her separation.

He instead points to Breaud missing a shift.

"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."
"The allegations made are in direct contrast with the values we and our franchisees uphold every day."




Breaud's lawsuit seeks to get her job back, along with back pay and benefits. She is also calling for the defendants to have anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation training.

She said she hopes her actions encourage others to stand up to this kind of behavior.

"I'm a gay woman and I've been at the bar before or out in public and had people say things about me. A lot of my life I wish that someone would have stood up for me."
"Now that I'm able to stand up for myself, I want to stand up for other people."