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Judge Allows Racial Discrimination Case Against Founders Brewing Co. to Proceed

— April 10, 2019

A judge recently dismissed one of the claims in a racial discrimination lawsuit filed against Founders Brewing Co.

Earlier this week, a federal judge tossed out one of the claims in the racial discrimination case against Founders Brewing Co. However, the African American employee who filed the suit may proceed with the other claims. What claim was dismissed, though? For starters, the suit was filed by Tracy Evans over allegations of racial discrimination. The claim that was dismissed alleged that Evans was “passed over for a promotion in favor of two less qualified white employees.

The judge dismissed the claim because of the unusual pre-employment agreement Evans had to sign that “significantly shortens the statute of limitations in such lawsuits.”  According to the pre-employment agreement Evans had to sign, the statute of limitations for filing lawsuits against Founders is only 180 days, way less than the three years granted under federal law. Because Evans passed over for a promotion that ended up going to two white employees more than 180 days ago, Evans can’t include the particular complaint in his suit. It should be noted that the brewery has yet to be cleared of any wrongdoing.

Racism graphic
Racism graphic; image courtesy of arnoldus via Pixabay,

Evans can go ahead with the other claims, though, including the claims that “Founders retaliated against him for complaining about racism in the work environment, and discrimination in how he was terminated.” Among his complaints, Evans alleges “multiple employees regularly used the ‘N word’ when he was around and were never reprimanded. Additionally, the brewery also allegedly “labeled two printers the ‘white guy printer’ and ‘black guy printer’ — the white guy printer was for management while the black guy printer was for other employees.”

As if that’s not bad enough, Evans also argues in his suit that “white staff at the Detroit location spoke derisively about the taphouse’s ‘dark’ clientele,” and claims he was “fired because he was in the process of filing complaints with human resources.” As a result, the suit states Founders has a “racist internal corporate culture” and notes “multiple examples of blatant racism that were exhibited by some white workers and managers during the nearly four years Evans worked there.”

Despite the lawsuit, Founders Brewing Co. has pushed back against the allegations, claiming the incidents detailed in the suit never happened. In a statement posted on the company’s website, Founders said:

“We are confident that we acted consistently with our values in every respect concerning this former employee.”

In addition to filing his lawsuit, Evans has also been busy organizing an initiative called ‘It’s Not Right.” According to Evans, the initiative is meant to “start a conversation around issues people face with discrimination, sexual assault and sexual harassment in the workplace.”


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