A former Applebee's employee claims she was fired from her the restaurant chain after attempting to stop a customer from making "offensive" and "discriminatory" remarks.
Amanda Breaud, a former supervisor at an Applebee's in Middletown, N.J., has filed a lawsuit against the restaurant chain, alleging that her response to the customer's comments ultimately led to her firing, NBC News reports.
Breaud's lawsuit states that the situation began in January 2019, where she was transferred from an Applebee's location in Tinton Falls, N.J., to the one in Middletown. At the point, she claims she was exposed to a "hostile work environment where racism and bigotry were commonplace."
The effects of that environment, the suit alleges, came to a head in May, when Breaud overheard a customer at the bar saying that "Muslim people are disgusting" as well as adding that "most of them are terrorists." Breaud said a bartender at the restaurant was also participating in the "offensive, discriminatory conversation," which multiple customers asked her to break up.
Breaud reportedly intervened and asked the customer to leave. The patron then allegedly yelled at Breaud and left, which led to one group of customers writing her a thank-you note on their receipt.
"To the manager — thank you for standing up to hate + racism," the note read. "Thank you for your service."
Breaud's manager allegedly felt differently about the altercation though. The lawsuit states that she was brought in and berated for the way she handled the situation, stating she had no right to stop a patron from "discussing religion" and telling her that she should have asked the offended customers to move instead.
Additionally, Breaud claims that the bartender who participated in the anti-Muslim conversation had openly complained about her in front of customers. Her lawsuit also cited instances of another employee making discriminatory remarks against African Americans and people with disabilities.
A few days after her conversation with the manager, Breaud asked to be transferred back to the Tinton Falls location. Her manager denied the request though and instead scheduled Breaud for three new shifts. After Breaud refused to change her schedule, she was allegedly fired.
Applebee's has since responded to Breaud's lawsuit, which filed in New Jersey on Tuesday. Susan Nelson, the company's vice president of communications, told NBC News that the restaurant chain took the accusations very seriously.
"The allegations made are in direct contrast with the values we and our franchisees uphold every day."
In her lawsuit, Breaud asks for her job back, plus back pay and compensation for damages related to her firing.