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EEOC sues McCormick & Schmick's

BALTIMORE The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a class-action lawsuit against McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants Inc., alleging that the chain's two restaurants here discriminated against black employees and job applicants.

The lawsuit claims that from Jan. 1, 1998, to the present, the restaurants’ managers refused to hire black applicants for visible front-of-the-house positions. Of the black servers already working in the restaurants, the lawsuit alleges that managers assigned them to less-lucrative tables or to tables where black customers were seated.

Aspokeswoman for McCormick & Schmick’s would not discuss the specifics of the lawsuit, but she defended the employment practices of the seafood chain.

“We are an equal employment opportunity employer that maintains policies prohibiting unlawful discrimination or harassment,” said spokeswoman Liz Brady.

Portland, Ore.-based McCormick & Schmick’s operates 85 restaurants, including 79 restaurants in the United States and six restaurants in Canada under The Boathouse brand.

Earlier this month, the company reportedly settled a 2006 class-action case in San Francisco filed on behalf of an employee and a former applicant who claimed the company discriminated against them because they were black.

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