Archive for Monday, December 17, 2012

Former employee sues Lawrence restaurant for discrimination

December 17, 2012


Related document

Ingredient lawsuit ( .PDF )

A former employee of Ingredient, 947 Massachusetts St., filed a lawsuit against the restaurant last week in federal court, alleging civil rights violations.

Rueben Madrigal, employed at the restaurant until August, says he was "harassed by the co-owner, managers and my co-workers because of my disability and nation origin," according to court documents.

Madrigal, who in the court documents says he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, alleges that employees would continually come up behind him and make loud noises, startling him. Madrigal says that he informed management but that no action was taken.

Madrigal is seeking $75,000 in damages.

In the lawsuit, Madrigal states that he filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which issued him a letter of "no finding."

Ingredient owner Nick Wysong was initially not aware of the lawsuit.

"I'm sad to read that," said Wysong after being provided a copy of the lawsuit by the Journal-World.

Wysong said he was aware that Madrigal had filed complaints through other avenues, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but that none of those complaints had shown any findings of civil rights violations.


jhawkinsf 5 years, 3 months ago

Any person can sue any other person for any reason, real or imagined. And because it might cost almost as much to defend such a lawsuit, it may well be cheaper to just settle. Free money, get your free money.

rtwngr 5 years, 3 months ago

I have a feeling the insurance company will step in, make an offer to settle, and cut a check to make it all go away. Based on what I am reading, he doesn't deserve a dime. He sounds like someone trying to bilk the system.

parrothead8 5 years, 3 months ago

Everyone sounds like someone trying to bilk the system to you. Based on what you're reading, you don't know enough to make a single claim about this case.

ResQd 5 years, 3 months ago

I agree. I've personally seen discrimination in the last 20 years of working, amongst other employees. Discrimination still exists in our world. If he can prove it, stick them in the pocketbook.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 3 months ago

But if he can't prove it, then he should be required to pay the expenses the restaurant incurred as a result of the lawsuit. As long as we're sticking it to them in the pocketbook, stick it to them both.

Noweigh 5 years, 3 months ago

rtwngr is right...."step in, make an offer to settle and cut a check to make it all go away." Very sad but very true. And we all pay for it. Groundless, frivilous and costly litigation and "settlements" that ultimately is passed along to the average Joe and Jane Consumer. Would be interesting to see a suit that asked for no monetary damages, just an apology if in fact wrong doing was done. Hopefully some of the smaller, local companies can afford to stand up to these kind of lawsuits, fight them in court and get decisions rendered in their favor. That might stop the "check" from being the only way "it all goes away:,

password 5 years, 3 months ago

"employed at the restaurant until August"? so when did he actually start there?

verity 5 years, 3 months ago

Not enough information here for any of us to make a reasoned decision.

And yet so many have already made up their minds.

BlueWaffle 5 years, 3 months ago

I have to agree. The article states that he filed with EEOC. All their investigations do is basicly see if there is good enough of case for the government to be your lawyer. I may be wrong but EEOC has to issue you some sort of right to sue status for you to take it to federal court. I have PTSD myself but have no opinion either way on this. Usually employers have a zero tolerance policy on this type of stuff so I do think there is so much more to the story.

BlueWaffle 5 years, 3 months ago

Many times PTSD is contributed to vets but here is a article from the Mayo Clinic.

You can develop post-traumatic stress disorder when you go through, see or learn about an event that causes intense fear, helplessness or horror.

Doctors aren't sure why some people get post-traumatic stress disorder. As with most mental health problems, PTSD is probably caused by a complex mix of:

Your inherited mental health risks, such as an increased risk of anxiety and depression Your life experiences, including the amount and severity of trauma you've gone through since early childhood The inherited aspects of your personality — often called your temperament The way your brain regulates the chemicals and hormones your body releases in response to stress

I believe he claims to have PTSD not that he got it from work. I am in no way supporting or saying he is lying as I have no idea what really went on

Steve Jacob 5 years, 3 months ago

Some people just can't handle high stress jobs, and working in a restaurant can be that way.

down_the_river 5 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, it seems like the stress was hastened by the outrageously inappropriate demand by the manager that he use a broom and dust pan on a daily basis to clean the floor of the business. I think if you read the text of the complaint you'll realize no lawyer was involved in the filing of this document.

bearded_gnome 5 years, 3 months ago

Rueben Madrigal, employed at the restaurant until August, says he was "harassed by the co-owner, managers and my co-workers because of my disability and nation origin," according to court documents.

I think Rueben is asserting that PTSD was a preexisting condition. also, that he was harrassed for his PTSD.

PTSD is real, and though now we see it often in the news associated with vets, anybody can get PTSD. in fact the article cited above is in error.
in the classic definition of PTSD, if anyone experiences a most extreme trauma, he or she can then have mental disturbance symptoms we describe as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; if these symptoms last for a lengthy period and disturb important functions of living.
PTSD is real, IDK if the suit is.

thebigspoon 5 years, 3 months ago

Rueben, really??? Are you kidding?

Let's see: did you disclose your PTSD on your employment application? If not, then it's hard to see how you were harassed about it. Can you say "fraudulent application"?

I've been in several restaurant settings, both as patron and owner or operator, and I seem to remember loud noises as a constant reminder that people were at work and doing things with utensils, dishware, pots and pans, and all manner of other stuff, and I did not file a lawsuit seeking compensation for normal happenings.

This badgering of yours may have worked in the past, but, Rueben, I believe you've probably met your match in your trip to the big leagues of Federal Court. Maybe you should just attempt to have a normal job, be a competent employee, and learn that life is not a constant battle against you and your "race" or "economic status" or whatever "disability" you happen to suffer at the time.

Brian Laird 5 years, 3 months ago

Actually, it is - according to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

MarcoPogo 5 years, 3 months ago

He's right - it does not take four months to order a vacuum. Case closed.

verity 5 years, 3 months ago

When I was employed in Lawrence, one of my coworkers was bipolar and, even with medication, it was not well-controlled. Some of the fellow employees, who were way old enough to know better, would tease him and try to feed into his paranoia, thinking it was quite funny.

I don't know what happened in the situation in this article, but I do know that people, even adults who should know better, can be needlessly cruel to someone who has a problem.

happyrearviewmirror 5 years, 3 months ago

A lot of people in Lawrence are mindlessly aggressive. Ignorance scares people. These are not good people-readers who have been taught to respond to others as individuals. No, they have been brainwashed to follow a script and have never reflected enough to realize that are conveying their offensive, discriminatory sense of entitlement to the world: Approach others aggressively. Don't even bother to say "hi" or to gauge another's interest or willingness to interact. Barge right in there, country bumpkin. Act out your prejudiced assumptions immediately and mindlessly.

I can totally understand the loud, insensitive types who are a dime a dozen in Lawrence purposely frightening others.

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