With its unassuming facade, dollar deals, and classy entertainment offerings, Michael's International in Houston is the perfect hang-out spot not only for discriminating gentlemen, but also for gentlemen who discriminate—as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleges in a lawsuit filed Thursday.
The EEOC filed its suit on behalf of a group of African-American waitresses who were told back in 2007 that they couldn't work at Michael's anymore because Bert Stair, vice president and secretary of Michael's parent company Burch Management, reportedly "did not like African-American waitresses and dancers in his club." The allegations against him are pretty appalling:
The EEOC claims that Stair directly called at least one of the black waitresses a "n——r," and told her "We don't need any more n——rs in this club, we have enough." The lawsuit further asserts that in mid-November 2007, African-American females working at the club insisted on speaking with Stair to discuss their complaints of race discrimination. The meeting, however, failed to change the working conditions, which had become intolerable for African-American females who were repeatedly prevented from working their scheduled shifts because of their race, and the EEOC contends that the women were forced to quit because of the racism.
The waitresses were also allegedly asked to leave the club or hide in a back room when Stair came to town. It would have been better if he had gone to the back room and hid, maybe forever, or at least until he overcame his problems with women of color.
Today Michael's proudly advertises itself as "Houston's Premier Latin Club," and promotes its Chicas Locas. So at least they're accepting of Latinas and topless women with mental health issues. But they're still on the hook for any back wages the African-American waitresses lost, as well as damages. Let's hope that if the waitresses end up winning the case, Burch won't try to pay them in dollar bills.