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Scott Donatelli, who was fired as the general manager of the Panera Bread cafe in Mt. Lebanon, has filed suit claiming the reason for his termination was that he would not abide by the racially discriminatory personnel policies of his employer, franchise owner Sam Corvelli.
His lawyer Sam Cordes said the policy was not reserved for just the Mt. Lebanon restaurant.
“There will be evidence presented that store managers were told, ‘we don’t hire anyone who’s fat, Black or ugly,’” he said. “The evidence we have is that this was standard policy and practice throughout the Corvelli empire.”
In his eight-page complaint filed Nov. 2 in the U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, Donatelli said he was repeatedly reprimanded by his district manager for having an African-American male employee working the cash register instead of “pretty young girls.”
Donatelli also claimed the district manager said such violations of Corvelli’s policy on race would get them both fired, saying the Black employee’s work abilities “won’t matter to Sam” and that it “is a death sentence for me and you if Sam would walk in and see him on register.”
According to its website, Corvelli Enterprises of Warren, Ohio, owns about 200 Panera Bread bistros in western Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and in West Palm Beach, Fla., making Corvelli the fifth largest franchiser in the country.
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