According to reports, about 200 to 300 black workers under the Panera Bread franchise may get a huge chunk of change pretty soon. A Panera Bread franchisee, Sam Covelli, has been accused of forcing black employees to work in the back of the restaurant because he didn’t want them to be in the public view. Covelli, who runs several western Pennsylvania Panera Bread stores, has agreed in the lawsuit to pay more than $76,000 to settle claims made by current and former black employees accusing Covelli of discrimination.
Guy Vines, the former employee, sued the company back in January. He and his attorney have been advised by Chief U.S. District Judge Gary Lancaster, to “advertise the settlement in newspapers” in areas where Covelli owns his Panera stores like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Kentucky and West Virginia, reports the Huffington Post. Depending on how many former and current employees respond to the ads, Covelli may be faced with more legal woes as he will have to pay more settlement claims. The settlement will only cover anyone who worked for Covelli between Jan. 11, 2008 and Jan. 11, 2012 for at least a year.
Vines will reportedly receive $10,000 as the lead plaintiff in the case, and his attorney, Samuel Cordes, is expected to recieve $66,000 for legal fees.
The Huffington Post also reports, “Those workers will get 70 cents an hour for each hour they worked in excess of one year at any of Covelli’s Panera’s stores. That’s based upon how much money Covelli’s workers stood to gain had they been promoted after their first year.” The case against Covelli claims that Covelli refused to allow anyone who was “black, fat, and/or ugly” to work the cash registers, and in result, people who Covelli felt fit this mold was forced to work the dishes or doing food preparation.
What do you all think? Let us know below!