Lawsuit against Barclays Center catering company alleges racial discrimination, disability discrimination

Barclays Center
Barclays Center

Five restaurant workers at Barclays Center have filed a lawsuit against Levy Restaurants, who provide food at catering services at Barclays Center, for “Racial and Disability Discrimination” in the workplace.

The suit alleges that three supervisors for Levy Restaurants, Aaron La Greca,
Alphonse Lanza, and Lisa Brefere, repeatedly taunted Barnett Valerie, Erik Silverman, Ramses
Grahan, Anthony Peterkin, and Sydney Silvera and other employees with racially charged language, and taunted Peterkin for being blind in one eye.

From the lawsuit (warning: graphic language):

On a regular and continuing basis, Plaintiffs have heard Defendants Lanza and La Greca referring to black employees, inter alia, as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

On several occasions, Plaintiffs have heard Defendants La Greca and Lanza
referring to Plaintiff Peterkin as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” because he is visibly blind in one eye. Plaintiff Peterkin also overheard Defendant La Greca asking “why is he [Peterkin] working here if he’s blind.”

The suit seeks $5 million in retribution for four specific claims, plus damages.

This isn’t the first discrimination lawsuit that’s hit Barclays Center this year. In October, three individuals filed a $4 million suit, alleging that they had been subject to racial profiling from the staff. In April, Levy Restaurants was under fire from server Rasean Tate, who filed a discrimination lawsuit claiming a Houston Rockets player called him a gay slur and the catering service subsequently limited his hours and pay.

Levy Restaurant Holdings refused to comment on any pending litigation. “We have a total commitment to creating a safe workplace environment driven by inclusion and diversity,” Eva Yusa, director of communications at Levy Restaurant, told The Brooklyn Game. “We take any and all workplace complaints very seriously and hold ourselves to the highest standards in equal opportunity and fair treatment.”

Barclays Center spokesman Barry Baum told the New York Daily News that “we have a zero tolerance policy for any type of discriminatory behavior in the workplace. It is against everything that Barclays Center stands for. We will immediately and thoroughly investigate the allegations made.”

Full lawsuit below.

Atlantic Yards Report — Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation