Settlement may be coming in Buffalo Wild Wings race incident

  • Buffalo Wild Wings on 75th Street in Naperville.

      Buffalo Wild Wings on 75th Street in Naperville. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, November 2019

 
 
Updated 4/22/2020 7:25 PM

Ten children who witnessed a case of racial bias at a Naperville restaurant last October may receive cash settlements, according to DuPage County court records.

A petition was filed Monday by attorney Cannon Lambert, who spoke last fall on behalf of a group of 18 people who said they were discriminated against by workers at a Buffalo Wild Wings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The petition does not refer to the restaurant by name. But it says the children, identified only by their initials, were involved in an "incident" Oct. 26 at 2555 W. 75th St. That's the address of the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant.

On that date, a host asked about the racial makeup of some customers in their group before seating them. Two managers later asked the group to change seats.

The employees later told police they were trying to avoid having the group near two white patrons who previously espoused racist views.

The host and one of the managers were black; the other manager was white. The host quit that night, and the two managers were fired.

Lambert could not be reached for comment Wednesday and neither could the chief communications officer for Inspire Brands, which owns the Buffalo Wild Wings brand. The Naperville restaurant is a franchise, owned by Blazin Wings Inc.

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At a Nov. 5 news conference, Lambert said the families did not plan to take legal action because "there is no need to file a lawsuit if there's no disagreement" that what happened was wrong. He said Buffalo Wild Wings needed to be held accountable, "but that does not mean that it has to come in the form of a lawsuit."

Lambert said the families want Buffalo Wild Wings to screen employees before hiring; inform applicants the corporation expects workers to be racially sensitive while on the job; and ensure the company's employee handbook clearly states that there is zero tolerance for racial bigotry and that employees will be fired for bigoted conduct.

Six of the children would receive $9,500 each, according to the petition. Four other children would split $9,500. Their parents would receive the awards on their behalf. The parents are identified only by their initials.

The petition asks the court to seal the file and all documents related to the matter, including the petition. A May 21 court hearing has been set.

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