Second Racial Discrimination Suit Filed Against Capitol Hill Club

Posted November 8, 2010 at 10:38am

A second employee filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit Monday morning against the Capitol Hill Club and its manager, alleging racial discrimination in the club’s hiring practices.

Banquet Chef Trevor Burt, who is of Jamaican descent, stepped into the role of acting executive chef for four months starting in April, when his supervisor left the company. But the $2 million lawsuit claims that he was neither duly paid during that period nor offered the top chef job, which went to a Caucasian.

“My client alleges that he did the same work as the executive chefs prior to him but he wasn’t compensated the same,” Burt’s lawyer, Jimmy Bell, said. “In America, people who do equal work are entitled to equal pay whether they are men or women or white or black.”

Burt is still a banquet chef at the club. He was hired in January at a time when the restaurant was “coming under a lot of fire about the cleanliness, food cost, food and health violations and especially the quality and taste of the products,” according to the suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The executive chef was fired in February and another was quickly hired in March, according to court documents. But that chef left the company in April, so Burt took over.

Though Burt claims in his suit that during his four months in charge of the kitchen, food costs were at record lows and food surveys showed customers were satisfied, he was never interviewed for the top job.

He received $5,600 in incentives, the suit alleges, but that pales in comparison with the $37,000 an executive chef would be paid during a four-month period.

The watering hole at the corner of First and C streets Southeast is a well-known social club for Republicans. When reached by telephone Monday morning, club manager Stan Lawson said he had no comment about the lawsuits.

The first case against the club was filed in October by an African-American woman who claims that she did not receive a pay raise in her eight years as the club’s human resources manager while several white and Hispanic employees did.

The $3 million lawsuit also claims that Kim Crawford was fired in retaliation in July after she reported to the club’s comptroller, Linda Mintz, that Lawson had discriminated against Burt, according to a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Bell, who is representing Crawford, too, said Lawson has been notified of both suits.

Club President Ray McGrath of Downey McGrath Group Inc. did not immediately return a call seeking comment.