Settlement proposed in Panera Bread lawsuit
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A proposed settlement to a lawsuit by an African-American man against a major Panera Bread franchisee would give some current and former employees back pay, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court Friday.
In January, Guy M. Vines, 21, of Castle Shannon sued Covelli Enterprises, which runs around 200 restaurants, claiming that people who were "fat, black or ugly" were denied promotions and consigned to menial roles.
The proposed settlement covers black non-management employees who worked for Covelli for at least a year between Jan. 11, 2008, and Jan. 11, 2012, and were denied promotions. All such employees who join the settlement would get 70 cents for each hour they worked after their one-year anniversary date.
Samuel J. Cordes, the attorney for Mr. Vines, would get $66,000.
"Covelli maintains that it is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate, nor has it ever discriminated, in its employment decisions," according to the proposed agreement. Neither Covelli's spokeswoman for Western Pennsylvania nor its attorney on the case could be reached late Friday for comment.
Before the settlement can take effect, U.S. District Chief Judge Gary L. Lancaster must hold an as-yet-unscheduled fairness hearing.
First Published July 28, 2012 12:00 am