Ex-employees of Eddie Merlot’s Bloomfield Hills restaurant claim they experienced hostile work environment

Eddie Merlot’s Corporate Office releases statement in response to claims

Ex-employees claim hostile workplace at Bloomfield Hills restaurant
Ex-employees claim hostile workplace at Bloomfield Hills restaurant

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. – A national restaurant chain is looking into several claims regarding hostile working conditions made by former employees.

Those claims include one about a manager using racial comments against guests.

“Just mistreating different families depending honestly on the race. I saw it firsthand. It’s been other employees who said they seen it. I heard things, I seen things,” said former Eddie Merlot’s chef, James Gaines.

Gaines said he had enough of working at the Eddie Merlot’s location in Bloomfield Hills.

That’s why he’s speaking out about what he claims was a hostile working environment and comments made by one of the managers.

“If customers arrived at the reservation late, he will say things as of ‘CPT’, if you don’t know what CPT means, that’s colored people time and by him being maybe a 58 or 59-year-old Caucasian, I don’t think that was funny,” said Gaines.

Gaines said that was the final straw. He quit and was not alone. Several employees also walked out, including Blake Dixon.

“I started to notice more and more patterns of like disrespect coming from management towards employees, towards patrons of the restaurant and definitely towards, you know people of color, both people coming into eat and people who work there,” said Dixon, a former food runner at the restaurant.

He was one of the employees who also quit. He had complaints about the same manager.

“The management himself explained to an employee what that day was and his explanation was, ‘Oh you know when the old Black ladies come in from church, with their ugly, stupid hats. They spend a lot of money,” said Dixon.

Eddie Merlot’s Corporate Office released this statement.

“Eddie Merlot’s did receive a complaint from three former employees that there was a racially hostile environment in our Bloomfield Hills restaurant. Eddie Merlot’s does not tolerate discrimination. The company has a clear policy against any form of discrimination or a hostile work environment. At this time it would be inappropriate to discuss the details, but we have started an investigation into the allegations and will take appropriate action if the allegations are deemed to be true,” read the statement.

READ MORE: The latest local and national news headlines


About the Authors:

Larry Spruill Jr. joined the Local 4 News team in January 2018. Prior, he worked at WJAX in Jacksonville, Florida. Larry grew up as a military kid because his father is a retired Chief of the United States Air Force.

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.