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Former Bartender Accuses Detroit’s Kid Rock Restaurant of Racism in Lawsuit

The employee claims she was fired for wearing her hair in an afro

Kid Rock Made in Detroit/Facebook
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

A former bartender at Kid Rock’s Made in Detroit restaurant in the Little Caesars Arena has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the company alleging racial discrimination, the Detroit Free Press reports. The former employee Carinne A. Silverman-Maddox alleges in the complaint filed on Tuesday, January 29 that the bar favored white employees and eventually terminated her “based on her race.”

Silverman-Maddox was hired at the Woodward Avenue restaurant around August 1, 2018, according to the lawsuit. At the time, the plaintiff claims she was the only African-American bartender of a 15-person staff. For several months Silverman-Maddox states that she wore her hair straightened and pulled back similar to her white coworkers.

On October 13, 2018 she decided to “wear her hair natural, in a curly afro.” Silverman-Maddox alleges in the complaint that she “immediately noticed strange looks from the management,” but carried on with her shift until 7 p.m. when she was pulled off the bar and reprimanded by the restaurant’s general manager and floor manager for allegedly overpouring a drink. Silverman-Maddox states in the complaint that she disputed the incident and was ultimately suspended pending an investigation.

During her time as an employee, Silverman-Maddox states in the complaint that she had never received negative feedback on her performance. However, she claims to have regularly witnessed bar staff and management at the Kid Rock Made in Detroit Restaurant overpouring drinks due, in part, to a lack of bar jiggers necessary for measuring liquor. The lawsuit also alleges that during training bartenders for the restaurant were actually encouraged to overpour when Kid Rock himself visited the establishment.

Beyond the day of her firing, Silverman-Maddox describes multiple incidents she characterized as favoritism for white employees at the restaurant. She alleges that her white counterparts at the bar “consistently were scheduled to come in earlier than [her] allowing them a larger portion of the tip-pool” and received only verbal warnings when caught overpouring. During the same evening that when her suspension occurred, “a Caucasian employee was caught not checking the IDs of customers [...] yet was not suspended or sent home,” according to the lawsuit.

Following her suspension in October, Silverman-Maddox states that she was taken off the work schedule for more than a month without updates on her suspension. She eventually submitted formal charges of discrimination to the Michigan Department of Civil rights and was officially fired by the restaurant in December.

The lawsuit, which incorrectly refers to the establishment as Kid Rock Made in America Restaurant, names LCA food service contractor Delaware North and Detroit District Sportservice as well as Kid Rock’s businesses entities Top Dog Records and Bobby Moscow, LLC as defendants.

This is just the latest in a string of lawsuits recently filed against Detroit businesses alleging racial discrimination. Earlier this week, the Detroit Foundation Hotel was hit with a lawsuit accusing the company of discriminating against black employees. Last October, a former Founders Brewing Co. employee filed a complaint alleging multiple racially charged incidents at the company’s Grand Rapids and Detroit locations.

Kid Rock’s Made in Detroit restaurant received a mixed welcome in the city when it opened in September 2017. Kid Rock, whose legal name is Robert Ritchie, is a noted supporter of Donald Trump and is known for using Confederate flags in his stage performances. The Southeast Michigan-born musician has since gone on open a bar in Nashville called Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk Rock & Roll Steakhouse. The city government drew jeers from residents for approving a 20-foot-tall neon sign of a guitar shaped like a woman’s buttocks at the business.

Detroit Kid Rock Restaurant Bartender: My Firing Was Racism [Freep]
Kid Rock Is Bringing the Restaurant No One Asked For to the Little Caesars Arena [ED]
All Lawsuits Coverage [ED]