Sweetgreen hit with allegations of racial discrimination in lawsuit

Allegations center around handful of New York City-area stores

Sweetgreen has been accused of discrimination in a recent lawsuit

The amended complaint, published by Axios, levels claims of "discrimination, racial harassment, and a hostile work environment" occurring at a handful of New York stores against Sweetgreen and two managers. Lawyers filed the suit on Thursday. 

The filing came from 10 workers for the salad-making restaurant chain, marking an expansion of a legal action by two employees earlier in the year, Axios reported.

Sweetgreen sign

A Sweetgreen restaurant in Burbank, California, is shown on Aug. 2, 2023. (Eric Thayer / Bloomberg / Getty Images)

In the document, Sweetgreen faces allegations that seven of those suing the company experienced gender-based discrimination and harassment at work.

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The plaintiffs claim to have experienced the "harassment, discrimination and the hostile work environment" while working at a handful of Sweetgreen locations in the New York City area.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
SG SWEETGREEN INC. 11.38 +0.06 +0.53%

"At Sweetgreen, we are committed to diversity as well as a safe and inclusive workplace. We take these accusations seriously and do not tolerate any form of harassment, discrimination or unsafe working conditions," a Sweetgreen spokesperson told FOX Business. "We are unable to comment further on any pending legal matters."

The lawsuit claims that while at work, those suing Sweetgreen had to listen to "daily use of the N-word and other derogatory comments … to describe Plaintiffs and their Black coworkers" and other forms of racial discrimination. One of the plaintiffs alleges that work shifts at one of the Sweetgreen locations were "segregated," with Black workers all getting stuck on the "less desirable night shift."

Sweetgreen Inc

The lawsuit also claims that Hispanic workers got access to better hours, pay and promotions compared to Black employees.

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In terms of gender-based harassment and discrimination, the suit claims that plaintiffs faced "inappropriately sexual comments on a daily basis" from supervisors and colleagues; some experienced "touching and comments" at Sweetgreen that made them uncomfortable and saw the same happen to other female employees.

Judge's Gavel

The lawsuit also claims that Hispanic workers got access to better hours, pay and promotions compared to Black employees. (iStock / iStock)

Sweetgreen also purportedly owes one of the plaintiffs minimum-wage payment for work the person performed while the time tracker at a New York location malfunctioned over a roughly two-week period, according to the lawsuit.

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The restaurant chain had more than 180 total locations across the U.S. and employed more than 5,900 people as of late December 2022, according to its most recent annual report. It has been publicly traded for nearly two years.

Sweetgreen’s stock saw a nearly 4.5% decline Thursday.