Lawfuel – Houston-based Mexican Restaurants, Inc., recently prevailed in a Title VII race discrimination lawsuit where the plaintiff sought more than $350,000 in damages. Attorneys from Monty Partners, LLP, a Houston labor, employment and immigration law firm, successfully represented Mexican Restaurants, Inc. in the case.
The lawsuit was filed by Monica Williams, an African-American, who claimed she was a victim of race discrimination based on allegations that Mexican Restaurants, Inc. did not provide the same employment opportunities to her as they did to white employees. Monty Partners successfully argued that the plaintiff could not compare herself to other employees because they were not “similarly situated,” in that the employees that the plaintiff compared herself to had different titles, responsibilities and supervisors.
During the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s investigative process, the EEOC issued a “for cause” finding against the company. However, attorneys from Monty Partners successfully argued that the EEOC investigator was biased and influenced by the fact the case originated from Jasper, Texas, the small town infamous for the racial tension associated with the lynching of James Byrd Jr. While any allegation of employer discrimination is a serious matter to address, the fact that the plaintiff lived in Jasper heightened the risk of liability. During the discovery process, the company became aware that several of the employees in Jasper knew Mr. Byrd, and they knew a relative of one of the perpetrators involved in the lynching of Mr. Byrd
The case originally was filed in federal court, and heard in an arbitration proceeding before the American Arbitration Association pursuant to a mandatory arbitration agreement signed by Mexican Restaurants, Inc. employees. With the assistance of Monty Partners, Mexican Restaurants, Inc. adopted arbitration as a condition of employment in 1999, and each new employee is required to consent to mandatory arbitration prior to begin working for the company.
The arbitrator denied the plaintiff’s case on March 13, 2008, due to a lack of evidence to support her race discrimination lawsuit against the company.
About Monty Partners LLP
Founded in 1998, Monty Partners LLP (www.montypartners.com) focuses on labor, employment and immigration law and is the largest Hispanic-owned law firm in the Southwest. The firm is passionate about representing the interests of companies and specializes in assisting companies with large Hispanic work forces. The firm provides a full range of legal services to corporations ranging from Fortune 1000 and publicly-traded companies to major industry associations, as well as governments and individuals.