In Taco Bell world, the Quesarito isn’t the only thing that’s been going down. Sadly, Taco Bell has also fired employee Juanita O’Connell for hiring Hispanics, Courthouse News Service reports.
The 60-year-old former employee, who is also of partial Mexican descent, had been an employee for Taco Bell for 27 years, and up until her recent departure from the fast food giant, she was the general manager of one of its thousands of stores across the U.S.
Her complaint against Taco Bell is as follows:
“During the course of plaintiff’s employment, defendant’s Company Operations Leader, Mark Lewis, told plaintiff not to hire Hispanics.
“Plaintiff complained to defendant’s management that such conduct on the part of Lewis was discriminatory.
“Subsequently, Lewis came to plaintiff’s store location and saw a Hispanic employee by the name of Feliciano Romero. Lewis remarked to plaintiff, “Didn’t I tell you not to hire Hispanics?” or words to that effect.”
Two weeks later, O’Connell’s supervisors at Taco Bell “terminated plaintiff’s employment, alleging that she violated the Manager Code and had an ‘I-9’ violation.” An I-9 is an immigrant work authorization form, and while it is not clear whether or not the employees hired by O’Connell were illegal, it seems this may be the crux of the whole issue.
O’Connell now seeks lost wages, cost, and damages based on civil rights violations, as well as discrimination based on gender and nationality.
A Taco Bell spokesman had a word via email with The Huffington Post about the situation:
“While we haven’t been served with the complaint, these are very serious allegations and if true, are not a reflection of our culture or standards. We’ve launched an investigation to get the facts.”
This isn’t the only red flag to have gone up around Taco Bell as of late. You may remember last year when a man serving a 25-year sentence accused Taco Bell of stealing the Doritos Locos Tacos from him. Taco Bell deemed the suit to be “without merit,” and according to Eater, the case was eventually dismissed by the court.
There was then the big Taco Bell mythbusting news, wherein Taco Bell finally revealed the ingredients in its ground beef, which has long been rumored of being a synthetic filler of some kind.
With all this said, Taco Bell is no stranger to controversy and lawsuits, though one has to question how this will affect their image in an increasingly race-conscious world.