Los Angeles, CA — Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles, one of LA’s oldest and most popular Black-owned restaurant chains, has just filed for bankruptcy after losing a racial discrimination and wrongful termination lawsuit last year in the amount of $3.2 million dollars. In filings with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in California, East Coast Foods, which owns the restaurant chain, estimated that it has debts between $10 million and $50 million. Its assets, on the other hand, total less than $50,000.
According to CBS News, the lawsuit was filed by an African American employee named Daniel Beasley who says he was a victim of different forms of racial discrimination by Hispanic employees who manage the restaurant chain’s Pico Blvd location. He accused the company of giving Latino employees preferential treatment over black workers, including better schedules and shifts
Beasley’s claims against the 40-year family-owned business included unfair treatment/ discrimination in the workplace, issues with shift scheduling, and wrongful termination after he complained to the HR Department and the owners. And it turned out that he was right! A Los Angeles county jury not only sided with Beasley, but also awarded him with more than $3 million ($1.7 million, and $1.5 million in attorney’s fees.)
Beasley’s attorney, Scott Cummings, says that he has already hired another lawyer to start the process of collecting on the judgment, which Roscoe’s is reportedly appealing. Cummings says he is worried that the bankruptcy filing is an attempt to avoid paying what is owed to his client.
Meanwhile, loyal customers and tourists are wondering if the restaurant chain will be able to stay afloat. Founded in 1975 by entrepreneur Herb Hudson, a Harlem, NY native, the chain has 7 locations in Southern California, including Hollywood, Long Beach, Pasadena, West LA, Inglewood, Los Angeles and Anaheim.
They are known for serving several popular soul food dishes including fried chicken and waffles, chicken sausages, cheesy grits, biscuits, french fries, and sandwiches.