A Dallas restaurant group has been sued for discrimination by a former manager. A lawsuit was filed on July 19 against Vandelay Hospitality Group, which owns East Hampton Sandwich Company, Hudson House, Brentwood, and Drake's Hollywood, by Glenn Govias, a former manager at Drake's Hollywood, alleging widespread discriminatory practices.
Filed by McCathern PLLC, who courteously sent out a press release, the lawsuit alleges that the company, its CEO, and COO, fostered a toxic environment of racist, sexist, and homophobic employment and customer service practices in violation of Chapter 451 of the Texas Labor Code.
It also alleges fraud, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and other charges.
Govias was fired by Vandelay in November 2020. He previously worked for Pappadeaux Seafood Restaurant in Richardson for nearly 20 years, and before that, worked for Chili's.
He alleges that members of senior management insisted that he and other employees "fire the Black guy," "fire the Mexican guy," or "fire the ugly girl," for no justifiable employment-related reason.
Govias also alleges that hosts were instructed to turn away non-white customers under the pretext of unspecified "dress code violations," and to reject reservation requests from guests believed to be of African American, Middle Eastern, or Hispanic heritage because of their surnames.
The lawsuit says that Govias was fired because he refused to follow those orders. "Ultimately, Mr. Govias himself fell victim to Vandelay's corrupt culture under [founder Hunter] Pond's leadership, when he was fired on pretextual basis for refusing to carry out his bosses’ discriminatory orders and in retaliation for filing Worker’s Compensation claim after serious workplace injury," the lawsuit says.
Govias was fired after suffering an accident on the job, when he fell off a ladder and hurt his neck. He filed claim for compensation for his work-related injury with the Texas Department of Insurance but Vandelay said he had used up all his time off.
The full petition is posted online.
Vandelay responded with a statement, saying, "VHG strives to maintain a professional and rewarding work environment for all of its employees. The company vigorously disputes Mr. Govias' allegations and trusts in the legal process to resolve these claims properly."