Former Waitresses Detail 'Sexually Hostile' Workplace Behind the Scenes at Randy White's Hall of Fame Barbecue
Editor's note: Skip to the jump to see an update to this post.
A pair of former waitresses at Randy White's Hall of Fame Barbecue detail their months spent in the "sexually hostile work environment" of the local chain's Mesquite location in a suit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Dallas.
In the kitchen and out around customers, the two allege suggestive language, inappropriate touching and unconcerned management were part of their work routine, before detailing explicit, often mind-numbing, comments they put up with from managers and other men they worked with.
According to the suit, the two waitresses, Brittany Germann and Shelby Hood, began working at the restaurant last summer, but quit in September, "unable to tolerate it anymore."
Most of the women's complaints center on a chef named Rafael, who was left in charge when owner Wesley Hutchins wasn't around, and, the suit alleges, slapped, kissed and touched the waitresses; the suit recounts explicit comments the chef allegedly made to Germann and Hood, and dirty jokes about other staff and customers.
Beyond those complaints, the suit describes an atmosphere of continued harassment from other employees too, including a dish washer, a meat cutter and a cook at Randy White's -- pervasive enough that, according to the suit, the waitresses kept close to the walls when they'd cross the restaurant to avoid being touched.
While Hood complained to Hutchins about the harassment, the suit says nothing came of his guarantees that he'd address it.
As Hanna pointed out in our Super Bowl issue earlier this month, the Hutchins family has been running the business since the '70s, well before the ex-Cowboy they called "The Manster" agreed to grace the joint with his name.
Calls to reach Hutchins or other family members for a response to the lawsuit were not returned.
Update: Tracy Hutchins, a longtime owner at the restaurant's Frisco location, called back Tuesday to say that he purchased the restaurant in Mesquite in January, taking over for Wes Hutchins for business reasons, and "never knew those kind of issues were around at all."
"For something like that, especially with Randy White's name -- this guy's just got an awesome name in the metroplex," Tracy Hutchins says, "it kind of stings." Hutchins says he spoke with Germann, one of the ex-waitresses, to let her know his family doesn't condone the sort of atmosphere described in the suit. "I talked to Brittany and I said, 'I'm so sorry.'"
"I've got an attorney, who's going to obviously fight the lawsuit for me," Hutchins says, adding that his is "a good Christian family" that donates to homeless shelters and other charities. "When the Hutchins family name is thrown in there, it's just this big ugly black eye." Hutchins says that under his ownership, the Mesquite restaurant will be operate according to his family's values.
"It literally makes me stick to my stomach to know that something like this would go on," Hutchins says. "We are sorry. We apologize. We are not what this is about."
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.