MINNEAPOLIS (Legal Newsline) - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced a lawsuit Sept. 25 against Whataburger Restaurants LLC, a national fast food chain, for allegedly retaliating against a white restaurant manager who opposed an upper management directive to hire only white applicants.

"Employees who oppose unlawful practices should feel secure in exercising that right," said Michael Farrell, director for the EEOC's Miami District Office.

According to the EEOC, Whataburger general and area managers wanted to hire only white applicants at a Tallahassee location because they wanted "the faces behind the counter to match the customer base." They purportedly demanded that the manager of the restaurant screen applications for names that “sounded white,” and to interview only those applicants. The manager refused and was thus allegedly subjected to retaliatory conduct including verbal abuse, intimidation and threats. The restaurant manager eventually resigned because of the alleged retaliatory conduct.

"The EEOC takes retaliation complaints very seriously and will pursue them with the same intensity as any other kind of discrimination charge,” said Robert E. Weisberg, regional attorney for the Miami District Office.

The Miami District Office oversees agency operations in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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