A manager at an Indiana Olive Garden has been fired after reportedly participating in racial discrimination. The manager allegedly honored a customer’s request to have a server who isn’t black.
According to the Evansville Courier & Press, a female customer who was seated with a black server at the chain’s Evansville location on Saturday requested to be given a white server instead. NBC News reported that the woman screamed her demand and the manager reportedly complied.
Olive Garden host Amira Donahue told the paper that the customer also went to her manager to complain about her twice, saying that she was rude and disrespectful. Donahue said the woman also yelled at her.
It didn’t end there. Donahue, who is black, said the customer asked for a refund on her meal when she was leaving, even though she had already eaten half of it. “She told the person that was helping her that I’m disrespectful…(that) I need to work at a strip club because I’m not family-friendly,” Donahue said.
“Me and (the server) were both in tears for most of the day because it was just surprising,” she said.
Maxwell Robbins, another customer, backed up Donahue’s story on Facebook. “A few white people come in (and) says that they refuse service from a ‘colored’ server and asks to speak with the manager,” he wrote. “The manager without hesitation ensures that they will not receive service from a person of color.”
Robbins told NBC News that he also called in several complaints to Olive Garden about the incident. Olive Garden confirmed to both NBC News and the Courier & Press that the manager was fired.
“We have zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind, and the manager involved no longer works for our company,” a statement said.
Donahue said she’s heard from the Olive Garden’s corporate office and has been given a direct number to call in case something similar happens again. “They’re trying to make it better,” she said.
While Donahue said she likes her job, she’s not happy with the way things were handled. “We just have this policy where it’s like the customer is always right no matter what, so I guess he was just trying to help the customer,” she said. “We deserve more respect than that. I’m literally a 16-year-old child, and this grown woman was just screaming at me in front of everybody.”
Olive Garden did not immediately respond to Delish’s request for comment.