WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Justice announced the filing and settlement of a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination against African-American customers by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc., a nationwide family restaurant chain. In the agreement, memorialized in a consent order filed with the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Cracker Barrel commits to implementing far reaching changes to policies and practices, to prevent discrimination.
The Justice Department’s complaint alleges that Cracker Barrel violated Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination against African-American customers and prospective customers on the basis of their race or color. Specifically, the complaint alleges that Cracker Barrel:
– allowed white servers to refuse to wait on African-American customers;
– segregated customer seating by race;
– seated white customers before African-American customers who arrived earlier;
– provided inferior service to African-American customers after they were seated; and
– treated African-Americans who complained about the quality of Cracker Barrel’s food or service less favorably than white customers who lodged similar complaints.