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Jack in the Box sued for race discrimination and retaliation

On November 21, 2014, two Hispanic men filed a race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against their former employer, Jack in the Box. Jose Rodriguez Morales and Elvis Rodriguez worked as Jack in the Box restaurant managers in Kansas City, Kansas.

The following are allegations that were made in the lawsuit complaint:

Morales and Rodriguez claim that their race was a motivating and/or determining factor in Jack in the Box’s intentional decision to discriminate against them in the terms and conditions of their employment, including, but not limited to, creating a hostile work environment, while instead retaining less-qualified employees outside their protected class, all while articulating false reasons for the diverse job actions, including terminating their employment.

Morales and Rodriguez also allege that they had a good faith, reasonable belief that Jack in the Box was engaging in unlawful employment practices, including violations of laws prohibiting race, national origin discrimination, and sex discrimination/harassment. Morales and Rodriguez claim that Jack in the Box retaliated against them because of their opposition to its alleged unlawful employment practices.

On or about June 16, 2013, Morales was contacted by another restaurant manager in the Kansas City area and asked what he thought about the new area coach who was being brought in from Cincinnati. After hearing the individual’s name, Morales indicated he believed this employee had been fired over a year before because he had been involved in a sexual harassment case with three former co-workers at the Legend location.

Morales told this restaurant manager that both he and Rodriguez knew this individual who had been involved in a sexual harassment case prior to his promotion and were under the impression that he had been fired. Morales indicated that he did not think it was fair or appropriate that someone who had been involved in a sexual harassment claim would be promoted to area coach. He told this manager he did not know how the other managers in the area were going to deal with the new area coach having been previously involved in such an incident since a lot of employees were aware of what happened.

Morales and Rodriguez allege that this information was reported to management. Thereafter, management allegedly stopped visiting their respective restaurants. Shortly after this conversation, on or about June 22, 2013, Morales’ restaurant failed a food safety inspection. On or about June 23, 2013, Rodriguez’ restaurant failed a food safety inspection. On information and belief, five or six of Jack in the Box’s seven restaurants in the Kansas City area did not pass the same food safety inspection.

On or about July 2, 2013, both Morales and Rodriguez were allegedly called into a face-to-face meeting with the interim area coach and an HR representative and told they were being fired as a result of their separate restaurants having both failed a food safety inspection. According to the complaint, no other manager was fired at this time for failed food safety inspections even though a total of five or six stores failed the same inspection.

The restaurant manager with whom Rodriguez Morales had the conversation with on June 16, 2013, was placed in his store after his termination. She was Caucasian and also failed her food safety inspection.

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at the U.S. District Court. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note that a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it represents only one side of the story.

Jack in the Box sued for race discrimination and retaliation
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