Michael Rivera v. Marla’s Caribbean Cuisine

The Complainant alleged that the Respondent unlawfully terminated his employment in retaliation for objecting to a hostile work environment based on his race and sex. The Complainant was a part-time dishwasher and prep cook at the Respondent’s restaurant. The Complainant alleged that the Respondent directed offensive racial and sexual comments towards him. The Complaint presented the Respondent with a letter requesting that the Respondent stop making such remarks. After receiving the letter the Respondent informed the Complainant that he no longer had a job. The Respondent contended that it did not terminate the Complainant’s employment, but instead the Complainant resigned.

The Department found that the Respondent terminated the Complainant’s employment. Furthermore, the close timing between the Complainant’s objection to harassment and the Respondent’s actions against him supported a finding that the Respondent’s actions were retaliatory.

The Complainant was awarded $2,000 for non-wage damages suffered as a result of the Respondent’s actions. The Respondent also agreed to conduct diversity and internal investigations training for its employees. Finally, the Respondent agreed to create a policy manual addressing its obligations under the Minneapolis Civil Rights Ordinance and other state and federal civil rights laws.

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