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Blatant Customer Racial Discrimination

Discussion in 'Other Legal Issues' started by Melanie69, Jan 6, 2020.

  1. Melanie69

    Melanie69 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Florida
    I am a woman of color. I was at Miami airport yesterday. Went to a bar/restaurant. Sat down at the bar counter to get a mimosa before my connecting flight.

    I sat at that counter and waited. The server/bartender completely ignored me, serving and interacting with every customer around me. She wouldn't even look my way, and I did not get acknowledged or served. She literally helped everyone but me and would not look my way. There were no other people of color here.

    Then a white couple sat next to me. Within ten seconds, she warmly greeted them with a "Good morning" and a smile and had asked them what they would like.

    I was devastated and incredulous. I said to the server, " I have been sitting here being completely IGNORED by you, and didn't even receive an acknowledgement."

    She gave me a phony apology, but it was painfully obvious what was happening. And it hurt. Jim Crow is alive and well still.

    There are cameras, by the way. There is video evidence.

    Please let me know if I have any legal recourse. The onus should not be on me to deal with this type of hurtful indignity and take it with a stiff uppper lip. It was so blatant. In 2020.
     
  2. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    Make a written complaint to the owner of the Bar.
     
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  3. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    You don't because you suffered no harm for which the law provides recourse.

    I don't disagree. Contact the manager and/or owner of the bar and complain. Contact the company that handles airport concessions and complain. Post a review online.
     
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  4. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    It's entirely possible that the (very busy) bartender simply did not notice that you had sat down until such time as you spoke up. People do make mistakes.
     
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  5. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    I have to wonder why during all that time you did not do anything to attract the bartender's attention.
    You didn't say anything? No gesturing?
    That could easily have been perceived as you not desiring any assistance.
    I don't say this to defend the bartender, but to point out that your own inaction may have contributed. Had you made those attempts and still been ignored then the complaint would be more reasonable, in my opinion.
     
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  6. Melanie69

    Melanie69 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    This, respectfully, is garbage. The setup of the bar makes it very easy to notice when someone sits down. In addition, the white couple didn't do a thing to get her attention. Again, the onus is not on me, nor will I accept being blamed.
     
  7. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Nobody is *blaming* you, but your reaction is telling (IMO).
     
  8. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    I wasn't blaming you... Just noting you could have experienced something entirely different if you had simply said , "May I order a drink?"
    You have no legal action to take here. Voice your complaint to management if you like, maybe deprive them of your business.
    Based on the information you provided I find it unreasonable to argue racism. The information does not support that.
    Were you ultimately served after getting the bartender's attention?
     
  9. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    I disagree with the implication that there is no possible remedy for the OP. The OP cannot sue for money damages under Title II the federal Civil Rights Act (which relates to discrimination by places of public accommodation) for this because that Act does not provide the option for money damages. But the OP could sue the bar for injunction to prevent future discrimination as injunction is expressly authorized by the Act. The Act does provide as well for court to order the business to the plaintiff's legal fees if the plaintiff wins. The problem here would be convincing the jury that this was indeed racial discrimination rather than something else. And, of course, the OP gets nothing directly out of such an action (unless she plans to stop in that airport bar again in the future). The OP may also make a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. The Act gives the DOJ the authority to sue the business for injunction, too.

    In some states there would be the potential for money damages, but Florida is not such a state and, indeed, Florida's civil rights laws are pretty weak compared to most states. Not surprisingly most states of the south provide pretty weak civil rights laws.
     
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