A lawsuit filed in a Manhattan Supreme Court has accused the staff of Eataly of racial discrimination against a white employee by the mostly Hispanic kitchen staff.
The 50,000 square foot restaurant and Italian marketplace is owned by Joe Bastianich and celebrity chef Mario Batali, who own several other restaurants in New York City and across the country.
Staten Island resident Scott Silberlight, a line cook at Eataly between August and October, contends in the suit that he was regularly harassed by coworkers and was told, “We don’t need gringos here,” referring to a Spanish term for people who are not Hispanic or Latino, especially Americans.
The lawsuit also states that Silberlight’s supervisor Leo Gonzalez, also Hispanic, was less than sympathetic when he complained, warning the cook that there would be “problems” if he attempted to involve higher management. At one point, Gonzalez reportedly told Silberlight, “Scott, you are a gringo — it’s not easy for gringos to work with Mexicans.”
“Not only was I discriminated against but my cries for help went unheard,” Silberlight said. “I look forward to my day in court and for justice to be served because no one should have to work under those conditions.”
Meanwhile, a representative for Eataly told the New York Post that the restaurant has “zero tolerance against any type of discriminatory conduct” and “will defend against these allegations.”