Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Monday, January 8, 2018

St. Louis Man Sues Catering Company Over Cage in the Workplace

Posted By on Mon, Jan 8, 2018 at 6:32 AM

click to enlarge FLICKR/ANDY BOREN
A St.Louis banquet server and bartender has filed suit against Bon Appetit Management Company, alleging the Palo Alto-based catering company subjected him to a racially charged work environment — and then fired him when he complained.

Exhibit A in James Eggleston's complaint: a cage.



Eggleston, who was hired by Bon Appetit in September 2015, says a purchasing manager and chef wheeled a five-foot-high cage within a few feet of where he and a handful of other black employees were working. "If you all get out of order, we are going to put you in this cage," the white supervisors told the group, according to the lawsuit. They allegedly added, "We are going to put at least three of you in this cage."

Eggleston and a co-worker complained to their supervisor. But while she told them she took the matter seriously, and urged them not to go to HR, they say the cage stayed put.

Eggleston continued to pursue the matter, but was told that management "did not understand why [he] 'could not get over the cage.”

After that, Eggleston alleges, the retaliation began. A manager allegedly told him things including “Boy, you better stop what you are doing, "you are not fit for this job" and “You should think about doing something else!” Last February, he was suspended and then terminated.

Eggleston has filed suit against the company. "Plaintiff provided management level personnel with enough information to raise a probability of racial harassment in the mind of a reasonable employer and the harassment was so pervasive and open that a reasonable employer would have had to be aware of it," his suit says.

A Bon Appetit spokeswoman did not respond to an email seeking comment Saturday.

Attorney Aaron Weishaar, who filed the suit on Eggleston's behalf, says it will be up to a judge to determine whether the company's handling of the cage was racially motivated.

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at sarah.fenske@riverfronttimes.com

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 20, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation