Amanda Breaud, a former supervisor at an Applebee’s in New Jersey, has filed a lawsuit against the restaurant, alleging she was fired after telling a customer to leave for making Islamophobic remarks.
According to the lawsuit, Breaud was working at the restaurant in May when a customer complained about a man at the bar making racist comments about Muslims. The customer said that the man called Muslims disgusting and referred to them as terrorists.
The customer also accused a bartender of agreeing with several of the man’s comments. Two other families reportedly asked Breaud to take care of the situation.
Breaud eventually approached the man and asked him to leave the restaurant. After yelling at her, he got up and left. Several other customers applauded Breaud for her actions.
However, some of Breaud’s managers and coworkers didn’t like what she did. A bartender reportedly told Breaud that she cost her tips from regular customers, like the man who just left. The general manager told Breaud that she should have just asked the offended customers to move to another part of the restaurant.
Breaud requested to be transferred to another Applebee’s and was fired a week later for allegedly missing a shift.
“The actions taken by Ms. Breaud should be celebrated, not punished,” Breaud’s attorney Christian V. McOmber of the Red Bank law firm McOmber & McOmber said in a statement. “The retaliation experienced by our client has no place in a civilized society and Applebee’s must be held to account for its failure to oppose racism in its restaurants and for violating our client’s rights.”
Breaud said that she hopes her actions will help others stand up to bigotry.
“I’m a gay woman and I’ve been at the bar before or out in public and had people say things about me,” she said. “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.”
Ed Doherty, chairman and CEO of Doherty Enterprises, which operates the restaurant, said that allegations in the lawsuit didn’t have merit.
“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,” Doherty said in a statement.