A former employee at P.F Chang's China Bistro on the Country Club Plaza claims that she was asked to wait on African-American customers when white servers refused.
Linletta Woodruff started working at P.F. Chang's in October 2008. In a lawsuit filed in Jackson County last month, Woodruff, who is African-American, claims that white servers requested that black guests and other minorities not sit in their sections.
The lawsuit suggests that restaurant management permitted the white servers to profile their clientele. Woodruff says managers asked her to wait on customers that white servers did not want to serve.
It's a commonly held perception in restaurant work that blacks tip less than whites. Research indicates that black-white tipping discrepancies are real.
Woodruff complained about the seating as well as her concerns that white employees who had sex with management seemed to receive special treatment. Woodruff took her issues to a manager who was African-American. The suit says the manager was fired after he spoke up at a staff meeting.
Woodruff resigned on March 7, 2009. In addition to employment discrimination, the suit makes a retaliation claim. Woodruff believes she was made to suffer consequences -- disciplinary write-ups, altered time sheets -- after speaking up.
P.F. Chang's is a chain based in Scottsdale, Arizona. A spokeswoman says the company does not comment on pending litigation.