A former longtime Cheesecake Factory server is suing the Calabasas-based restaurant chain, alleging she was fired in April for complaining that a manager made disparaging comments about Latino kitchen workers that wove in remarks about President Donald Trump’s border wall.
Andrea Nichole Duenas, who is herself a Latina, maintains in her Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit that she protested when she heard the white kitchen manager at the Thousand Oaks location tell Latino line cooks, “Give me fries stacked high and tall like the wall Trump is going to build.”
Duenas also believes that Latino cooks “appeared to be working off-the-clock more than … Caucasian employees,” according to her complaint, which alleges retaliation and wrongful discharge.
A Cheesecake Factory representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the suit, which was filed Monday and seeks unspecified damages.
Duenas says she was hired by the Cheesecake Factory in April 2008 and worked as a server and trainer.
She first heard disparaging remarks directed toward her Latino colleagues last September or October, the suit alleges.
Duenas met with the restaurant chain’s area director and told him she believed the alleged mistreatment of Latino kitchen employees was racially motivated and that it could “soon have a domino effect on other servers and Hispanic employees,” and he promised to look into the matter and make changes, according to her court papers.
However, the kitchen manager continued to make inappropriate remarks to Latino employees, the suit alleges. When Duenas asked the manager what she meant when she told her workers to “Give me some fries, Trump style,” the manager responded, “You know, fries stacked high and tall like the wall Trump is going to build,” the suit alleges.
After Duenas told the manager the remark was offensive, the manager replied, “Oh, I guess I’m sorry,” according to the suit.
Duenas complained to two other managers, but both were friends of the kitchen manager and they laughed at the plaintiff, the suit says.
The kitchen manager was eventually transferred to the Cheesecake Factory’s Sherman Oaks restaurant, but received no discipline, according to the complaint.
Meanwhile, Duenas’ work hours were reduced and she was suspended indefinitely in March after being told she made an erroneous use of a promotional coupon for a free slice of cheesecake, the suit says.
Other employees who made the same error were given written warnings, but were not suspended, according to the plaintiff.
Duenas says she received a copy of her personnel file from the Cheesecake Factory in April and the contents stated she was fired that month for the mistake with the promotional coupon. She says she received her final check in May.
Duenas says she wrote a lengthy letter to the restaurant’s human resources department in April, explaining her concerns and her actions regarding the promotional coupon. A copy of the correspondence was attached to the suit, in which she wrote: “I value my job, being that this is my sole income for my son and I. I will not have my reputation tarnished over a couple slices of cheesecake.”
Since her firing, Duenas has suffered financial losses as well as emotional distress, the suit states.
9-year-old genius to graduate university
(CNN) – A child prodigy from Belgium is on course to gain a bachelor’s degree at the tender age of 9.
Laurent Simons is studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) — a tough course even for students of an average graduate age.
Described by staff as “simply extraordinary,” Laurent is on course to finish his degree in December.
He then plans to embark on a PhD program in electrical engineering while also studying for a medicine degree, his father told CNN.
His parents, Lydia and Alexander Simons, said they thought Laurent’s grandparents were exaggerating when they said he had a gift, but his teachers soon concurred.
“They noticed something very special about Laurent,” said Lydia.
Laurent was given test after test as teachers tried to work out the extent of his talents. “They told us he is like a sponge,” said Alexander.
While Laurent comes from a family of doctors, his parents have so far not received any explanation as to why their child prodigy is capable of learning so quickly.
But Lydia has her own theory.
“I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy,” she joked.
The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students.
“That is not unusual,” said Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, in a statement.
“Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport.”
Hulshof said Laurent is “simply extraordinary” and praised the youngster.
“Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here,” he said. “Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy.”
Laurent told CNN his favorite subject is electrical engineering and he’s also “going to study a bit of medicine.”
His progress has not gone unnoticed and he is already being sought out by prestigious universities around the world, although Laurent’s family wouldn’t be drawn on naming which of them he is considering for his PhD.
“The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent,” said his father.
“I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things.”
While Laurent is evidently able to learn faster than most, his parents are being careful to let him enjoy himself too.
“We don’t want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes,” said Alexander. “We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents.”
Laurent said he enjoys playing with his dog Sammy and playing on his phone, like many young people.
However, unlike most 9-year-olds, he has already worked out what he wants to do with his life: develop artificial organs.
In the meantime, Laurent has to finish his bachelor’s degree and choose which academic institution will play host to the next stage in his remarkable journey.
Before that, he plans on taking a vacation to Japan for an undoubtedly well-deserved break.
New award to honor arts and activism named after Lena Horne
Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem
Two gangbangers aimed their BMW like a missile at a father and his 8-year-old son on a Harlem sidewalk in a horrifying incident captured by video distributed by police Thursday.
The BMW — driven by a man police believe is a member of the Gorilla Stone Bloods Gang — was zeroed in on the father, a rival gang member, said cops.
Around 3:45 p.m. Nov. 6, the boy and his father were walking on W. 112th St. by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. when the BMW jumped the sidewalk and slammed into them both, said cops.
🚨WANTED for ASSAULT: on 11/6 at approx 3:43 PM in front of 128 West 112th St in Manhattan, a 32 yr old male was walking with his 8 yr old son when a white BMW jumped the curb & hit the father & son. The driver then got out and slashed the father. Call @NYPDTips with any info. pic.twitter.com/cwd79rcM4c
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) November 15, 2019
Father and son were both knocked through a gate.
The BMW driver then backed up — and its driver and passenger, also believed to be a gang member, jumped out of the car and ran toward the father and the son.
One of the attackers slashed the father, identified by sources as 32-year-old Brian McIntosh, who’s served prison time for robbery and bail jumping.
McIntosh and his son went to Harlem Hospital. Miraculously, the boy escaped serious harm.
McIntosh was so adamant about refusing to help police catch his attackers that the young boy’s mother had to file a police report alleging he was the victim of a crime, police sources said.
Cops released video of the attack, and ask anyone with information about the suspects to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.
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