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Bloomfield Hills Restaurant Workers Quit, Alleging Manager Is Racist Toward Customers

Eddie Merlot’s national office is investigating claims that a manager created a hostile environment

A hand cutting a steak
Former employees have complained about the working environment at a Bloomfield Hills steakhouse

The national office of Eddie Merlot is investigating claims of a hostile working environment at its Bloomfield Hills restaurant after former employees complained that a manager was racist toward guests.

James Gaines, a former chef, told WDIV-TV that he resigned after he saw diners mistreated because of their race. “I saw it first hand,” he says. One manager, he claims, repeatedly made comments if Black customers arrived late for a reservation.

“If customers arrived at the reservation late, he will say … ‘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,” Gaines alleged in an interview with Larry Spruill.

Blake Dixon also was among the employees who resigned his position at the upscale steakhouse. The former food runner alleges he noticed “disrespect” from management toward employees, diners, and people of color who both worked and dined at the restaurant.

Eddie Merlot’s corporate office released a statement that said it was investigating.

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.