Farmhaus Burger on Broad Street facing EEOC discrimination complaint

CSRA News

A popular downtown restaurant is facing a discrimination complaint. A former employee of Farmhaus Burger, on Broad Street, claims she was discriminated against because of her religious beliefs. 

Lacey Envoldsen she says after she converted to Islam in June, she was treated differently by the restaurant’s owner. She says her hours were cut because she wore her hijab and she eventually quit.

Enevoldsen worked at Farmhaus from May 2017 to August 2018. In early June she started embracing the religion of Islam.

She says during her final months of employment she encountered incidents of anti-Muslim discrimination with the owner.

“He motioned to my head and asked what all this,” said Enevold. “I informed him as I did with the other owner that I already approached, that it was my hijab and I explained the conditions of it.”

She says the meeting with the restaurant owner took a turn that she didn’t expect.

“He got very agitated; he smirked and nodded,” explained Enveldson. “He let me know he did not like Muslims very much; he was not a fan of Muslims was the way he worded it for me.”

After several other incidents, she eventually quit and turned to the Georgia Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR

“The owner Farmhaus Burger would start showing up during her work shift,” said Edward Ahmed Mitchell. “He would stare at her, roll his eyes at her, make faces at her. Other co-workers warned her that this was being done purposely. That the owner of Farmhaus Burger told these other co-workers, at least one if she is not going to quit, I’m going to make her quit.”

Enevoldsen says she hopes her case can be an example for others to use to stop work discrimination.

“If you think you have encountered discrimination like I did, under no circumstance should you not record a conversation,” explained Enevoldsen. “Should you not write down dates when things happen. Make sure you record every little detail, because that does nothing but strengthen your case.”

She says everyone should be treated equally in the workplace.

“Accept employees for their work, not the way they look or what they are doing outside of work; as long as they are maintaining the regulations of that establishment,” said Enevoldsen. 

Lacey’s representatives say they have been talking with the owner’s attorney, but have not gotten what they say is a proper response.

NewsChannel 6 also reached out to the owner of Farmhaus Burger. You can read their response HERE or down below:

Sean Wight, Owner, Frog Hollow Hospitality Group

It would be inappropriate for us to discuss the details of a personnel issue, and it is disappointing that this former employee is choosing to spread lies and distort the facts.

We respect everyone’s right to practice their religion and we support our employees in their choices. We have never told any employee that religious attire could not be worn to work.

We strive to make fair decisions about all aspects of the operation of our restaurants, and we’ve done so every day we’ve been in business. Employees may not like every decision made. That’s just the reality of all workplaces.

Throughout my entire professional life, at every restaurant I’ve worked at or owned, I’ve encouraged and promoted diversity. People of all sexual orientation, races, and of multiple religious affiliations have worked harmoniously together. That’s a fact, not an opinion or interpretation of events.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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