Monday, January 9, 2012

Australian Chef Sues Belle Meade Country Club for Discrimination Based on Aussie-ness

Posted By on Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 1:29 PM

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Richard Jones, a chef from Australia, is suing the exclusive Belle Meade Country Club, claiming his supervisor there belittled him based on his nationality, The City Paper's Pierce Greenberg reports. Ultimately, Jones says, he was fired because his boss, the executive sous chef, was so full of hatred for his antipodean origin.

Jones claims the hate speech included the boss calling him a "Fosters-swilling Aussie bastard."

From The City Paper:

According to the complaint, Richard Jones worked at the club for more than a year and claims the executive sous chef at the guarded country club repeatedly berated him. The lawsuit was moved from Davidson County Circuit Court to U.S. District Court on Thursday.

“On numerous occasions, the Executive Sous Chef made comments regarding Australia and its characteristics, such as its people being unrefined, undeveloped and that it is a backwards nation,” the complaint reads.

In addition, the executive sous chef, Jones’ supervisor, allegedly called Jones a “Fosters-swilling Aussie bastard,” among other demeaning names.

Jones also claims he was unlawfully fired from the club in 2010, a result of the treatment of the executive sous chef. The lawsuit asks for $150,000 in punitive damages for lost wages, and $150,000 in compensatory damages for emotional distress and pain and suffering.

For decades, the private club, whose members include some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in Nashville, has come under fire for its treatment of women (they can be admitted as "Lady Members" but without voting privileges) and black people (the club claims membership isn't reserved for whites only, but has only one black "non-resident" member).

In December, a federal judicial panel said the country club practices “invidious discrimination” and reprimanded a Nashville judge for belonging to the club. This is the first time the club has been publicly accused of discriminating against Australians.

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