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Press Release 09-14-2023

EEOC Sues Bennett Enterprises / Alphie’s Sports Eatery for Race and Disability Discrimination and Retaliation

Restaurant Discriminated Against Former Server Because of Race and Disability and Retaliated Against Her, Federal Agency Charges

CLEVELAND – An Ohio restaurant owner-operator violated federal civil rights laws when it discriminated against an employee because of race and disability and retaliated against her, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the server, who is a biracial woman with a diagnosis of depression and anxiety, worked for Bennett Enterprises at its Ralphie’s Sports Eatery location in Kenton, Ohio. The EEOC alleges that Bennett Enterprises subjected the former server to a hostile work environment because of her race, which included her direct supervisor using racial slurs and other derogatory terms. After Bennett Enterprises learned of the former server’s disability, it denied her a promotion, suspended her, and then fired her.

The former server filed a discrimination charge with the EEOC alleging race and disability discrimination. Later, Bennett Enterprises refused to hire her at a different Ralphie’s location, telling her that it could not offer her the position because she has an active EEOC claim.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits race discrimination and retaliation for complaining about it. The alleged conduct also violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits disability discrimination and retaliation and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities unless it would cause undue hardship. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio (EEOC v. Bennett Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Ralphie’s Sports Eatery, Case No. 1:23-cv-01758) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its administrative conciliation process.

“Employers that violate multiple anti-discrimination statutes and then retaliate against employees for enforcing their rights under those laws must be held accountable,” said Philadelphia District Office Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence. “The EEOC is committed to preventing and remedying harassment and discrimination because of race and disability.”

EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office Director Jamie Williamson, said, “Discrimination on the bases of race and disability cannot be permitted. No worker should be subjected to discrimination and then punished for filing an EEOC discrimination charge.”

The lawsuit was filed by the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.

For more information on harassment, please visit More information on race and disability discrimination is available at and For information on retaliation, visit:

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.