1. Home
  2. Newsroom
  3. Michael's International Sued By EEOC For Race Discrimination
Press Release 06-30-2011

Michael's International Sued By EEOC For Race Discrimination

Houston Nightclub's Corporate Vice-President Made Explicit Racist Statements, Forced Out African-American Staff, Federal Agency Charged

HOUSTON – A Houston  nightclub violated federal law when it discriminated against African-American  waitresses to please one of the company's bosses, the U.S. Equal Employment  Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

According to  the EEOC's suit, beginning at least in September 2007, the management of  Michael's International Club prevented  African-American waitresses from working their scheduled shifts when a company  official visiting the club from corporate headquarters near Dallas.  Local Houston  managers told one of the African-American waitresses that Bert Stair, vice president  and secretary of both Michael's and parent corporation Burch Management, did  not like African-American waitresses and dancers in his club.

The EEOC claims that Stair directly called at  least one of the black waitresses a "n----r," and told her "We don't need any  more n----rs in this club, we have enough."  The lawsuit further asserts that in mid-November 2007, African-American  females working at the club insisted on speaking with Stair to discuss their  complaints of race discrimination. The  meeting, however, failed to change the working conditions, which had  become intolerable for African-American  females who were repeatedly prevented from working their scheduled shifts  because of their race, and the EEOC contends that the women were forced to quit  because of the racism.

Race discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of  1964. The EEOC filed suit against Duncan  Burch, Inc., doing business as Michael's International, and Burch Management  Co., Inc. in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston  Division (Civil Action No. 4:11-cv-02453) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its  conciliation process. The federal agency is seeking a permanent injunction  prohibiting the company from engaging in any further race discrimination. The EEOC is also seeking back pay on behalf of  a group of former waitresses and compensatory  and punitive damages and other relief on their behalf.

EEOC's Houston  Regional Attorney Jim Sacher said, "This lawsuit will send a message to  employers that the EEOC will vigorously enforce federal law by prosecuting  companies whose staffing decisions are unapologetically motivated by unlawful  racial preferences."

In its print  advertisements, Michael's markets itself as "Houston's Premier Latin Club," featuring  "Chicas Locas." Burch Management Company  runs approximately a dozen clubs in Texas.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting  employment discrimination. Additional  information about the EEOC is available on the agency's web site at