California Restaurant Settles Suit Over Racial Slurs Written On Receipts

A California man sued a restaurant in federal court, accusing it of discrimination for leaving racial epithets on his receipts. Weeks before the case was set to be heard by a jury, the restaurant and the customer reached a settlement with undisclosed terms.

According to the Orange County Weekly, the settlement came only after a judge allowed the plaintiff’s lawyers to search the restaurant’s receipts database for signs of widespread racism. Examples of the racist names the restaurant server apparently assigned to the customer are too revolting to repeat here, but if you really want to see them you can check out the source story.

In a deposition, a part-owner of the restaurant said the establishment does not “discriminate against any group of people on any basis whatsoever.”

Case of the “McStinkyNigger” Orange County Restaurant Receipt Settles [Orange County Weekly via MSNBC]

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  1. bassbeast says:

    “Examples of the racist names the restaurant server apparently assigned to the customer are too revolting to repeat here…”

    Followed immediately with the link:

    “Case of the “McStinkyNigger” Orange County Restaurant Receipt Settles”

    Yup, editorial diligence at its finest!

  2. Cat says:

    “Landmark Steakhouse does not “discriminate against any McStinkyN****r on any basis whatsoever.”

    • Rainicorn with baby bats says:

      Nor any McNigShits, apparently.

    • Vox Republica says:

      My finely tuned PC radar is sorely disappointed in how hard I laughed at that. A dozen internets for you.

    • Snoofin says:

      Actually they did NOT discriminate against this man. Yes they called him a racist name on a receipt but he was still served just like anyone else in the restaurant so he wasnt discriminated against, just insulted

  3. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    I’m disappointed in Consumerist for chickening out.

    • JennQPublic says:

      Same here. Since when is this a “family” website? We’re all adults here, I think we can handle some naughty language if it’s relevant to the story.

      • Coffee says:

        Agreed…there’s no need to use random profanity, but when it’s central to the story, it’s not something that needs to be tip-toed around. News shows use words like ni–er and f-g* all the time when they’re directly quoting individuals…I don’t know why Consumerist is more anal about self-censoring than they are.

        *Censored only to avoid moderation

  4. Tim says:

    From the story: At the time of the McHenry incidents, the Orange County Young Republicans chose Landmark Steakhouse as their “favorite spot” for monthly drink mixers.

    • Marlin says:

      and…
      Just weeks after McHenry filed his lawsuit, an elected member of the Orange County Republican Party emailed fellow Republicans a doctored photograph of Barack Obama that portrayed the president and his parents as chimpanzees.

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        Yeah, no one ever made a GWB chimp photoshop – it’s impossible to find one on the intarwebs.

        • JennQPublic says:

          To be fair, they did it to Obama because of his race, and to Bush 43 because of his perceived intellect. Most of us think discriminating against the stupid is fine.

          • TheMansfieldMauler says:

            Yeah, and to be fair, the person who sent that email was called on to resign by the Orange County GOP Chairman and the Orange County GOP Ethics Committee immediately met to determine what could be done. Party rules made it such that she could not be ousted, but the heads of the group were very outspoken about their disgust with the email.

            To be fair.

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      What you have pointed out is an example of poor, biased reporting. The reporter has shown no correlation between the Young Republicans and the incident. There is no evidence anyone outside the restaurant staff knew anything about it. All the author did was get some information from a Google search on the restaurant name.

      Would the reporter have pointed out any other regulars or people who said they liked the restaurant? Did he name people who had tweeted or facebooked that they liked that place? No? Then it was pisspoor, biased reporting.

      • Solkanar512 says:

        You kind of need to look up the definition of bias. Saying or insinuating something bad about someone else doesn’t automatically make it bias. For example, if this Young Republican group chose the place specifically because of the racial slur, that would be quite relevant to the story.

  5. vastrightwing says:

    Seriously, how do you assess damages in a case where racial epithets were written? Is there a value per epithet? And can epithets cause damage if the victim never sees them? This is so confusing.

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      If I’d been a juror in this case I’d have awarded a large sum of money more to punish the restaurant than to compensate the victim.

      If I’d been the victim, I would have paid my legal fees out of my settlement, maybe treated the fam to a nice sit-down dinner or buy a piece of pretty jewelry for myself, then the balance would have been donated to charity.

  6. Costner says:

    Here is a prime example of how one single idiot employee can destroy the profitability of a resturaunt. I’m sure the owners had no idea this type of thing was happening and even though it is their responsibility ot oversee their employees it is easy to see how this would go unnoticed.

    What they should have done was immediately fire the server responsible, and then provide this man $1000 gift card for future dining as well as apologize profusely. Since it went to the court and made headlines, you can bet this place lost tens of thousands in sales as a direct result.

    Although it does seem (according to the article) that the Young Republicans think it is a great place to hang out… so maybe they didn’t lose so much money afterall.

    • Tim says:

      The article says that the owners figured out it was one bartender, but didn’t fire him until a week after the lawsuit was filed.

      I’d think it’d be extremely easy to figure out who put the names on the tabs (considering there’s likely only one person who makes changes to each person’s tab). It should have taken a matter of days to figure it out and fire the person responsible.

      But yes, in general, if an employee does something and the employer takes swift action against him/her, the employer is not held responsible. It also helps if the employer took preventive steps, such as training on what not to write on someone’s tab.

      • areaman says:

        The owners like to bury their heads in the sand when something goes wrong.

        At least they pulled it out of the sand right before the case would go in front of a jury. Sounds like their moms and dads had talks with them before things got really out of hand.

        • JennQPublic says:

          If it’s a small business, the owners may have had a hard time firing someone they personally liked, no matter how wrong he was. Especially if they don’t think he’s actually racist. (Not everyone who uses a racial slur is actually racist, a lot of them are just idiots. It can be hard to tell who is which, due to the significant overlap between the two groups.)

    • RandomHookup says:

      But it’s also an example of how poor management can permeate throughout an organization.

    • Greggen says:

      Wasnt ‘one single idiot’ the management tolerated this crap. Why do you always have people stand up for racist companies?

      IF the company had fired the offender at the first offense, this would not even be an issue.

  7. pop top says:

    Wait, I thought there was no more racism in America because Obama was elected? I’m confused.

  8. SamiJ says:

    Uh… why are you using the sandwich board of the fantastic “No Name” restaurant — it’s a well-known Boston seafood restaurant.

  9. Jen says:

    I love how the picture is for a restaurant in Boston.

  10. chucklebuck says:

    If I was the owner of the restaurant in the picture, I would be ultra-pissed at having my establishment associated with this story, especially since the write-up doesn’t name the restaurant. The juxtaposition of this photo and story implies that the pictured restaurant (well, the restaurant whose sign is in the picture) is the one talked about in the story.

  11. dolemite says:

    The amount of “damage” done by receiving a receipt with a slur on it? Equal to about a 10% off coupon imo.

    • Cicadymn says:

      You don’t understand.

      SOMEONES FEELINGS WERE HURT!

      And that’s just terrible.

      • Dave on bass says:

        I’m a person who believes that if someone is offended at something it’s their own damn fault (and PC euphemisms need to die), but even I think that this kind of behavior from the employee is indefensible. Hell, call somebody names and make fun of them if you want, but racism is just sh*tty and misguided, and really – the mother of all epithets? In writing? In a computer system that prints receipts? That guy should have been fired on the spot, not for “hurting feelings” but for being an unprofessional douchenozzle.

      • little stripes says:

        Do you know what racism is? It’s more than just “hurting someone’s feelings”. It’s about hating on AN ENTIRE GROUP OF PEOPLE just because of their race.

    • msbask says:

      I was just thinking about that myself. I’m a woman. If I went into a restaurant who wrote things like “whore” or “big jugs” or “pms bi-tch”, I’d certainly never go back, but what would I sue for?

  12. Swins says:

    I think it is time that suits that are scheduled for court but are settled before going to court are not sealed.
    It seems that there is obviously a pattern there, that more people may have had slurs typed on their receipts, and they should be allowed to access the discovery and know the terms of the settlement.

  13. El_Fez says:

    “[does not] discriminate against any group of people on any basis whatsoever.”

    I cant be a bigot! I hate ALL races equally!

    • Cat says:

      In 1975, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 3379, “determining that Zionism is a form of racism…”.

      Black entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr., a convert to Judaism, was quoted as saying: “What a breakthrough! Now, finally, I can hate myself!

  14. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    So wait, it was discrimination against someone Irish?

    • Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

      “All right… we’ll give some land to the niggers and the chinks. But we don’t want the Irish!”
      *murmurs*
      “Aw, prairie shit… Everybody!”
      *cheers*

      • Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

        I suppose I should point out here that was a quote from Blazing Saddles, one of the finest comedic movies ever made. I might have included a few asterisks to censor the words, but oh for lack of an edit button…

      • Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

        I suppose I should point out here that was a quote from Blazing Saddles, one of the finest comedic movies ever made. I might have included a few asterisks to censor the words, but oh for lack of an edit button…

  15. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    Where is the line between service and speech? I would NEVER condone what the waiter did and think he/she should be fired. I’m shocked the customer returned.

    But the restaurant served him. So was there truly discrimination?

    • blueman says:

      So if I say “Here’s your dinner, you filthy n*****” as I bring you your meal then I’m not discriminating, right?

      Sheesh.

  16. Shouhdes says:

    So I can sue when I go to a black owned and operated establishment and they call me a cracker, or honkey, right?

    That’s the samething.

  17. HogwartsProfessor says:

    This waiter was a shithead. If I were his boss and found out about that it would be an instant termination. Do not pass Go; collect your last paycheck and GTFO.

  18. Skyhawk says:

    Wait, so printing a derogatory comment on a receipt is ‘discrimination’, now?

    These people were allowed into the restaurant, seated, and served.

    So where is the discrimination?

    Poor taste, meanness, sure. But discrimination?

  19. flarn2006 says:

    Wow. BIGBLACK is nothing compared to this!