Confined to the kitchen


Chino Latino

, as the name suggests, is known for its cheeky fusion of cuisines and cultures from around the globe. The trendy, six-year-old Uptown eatery serves up such concoctions as chipotle salmon roll, Philippine paella, and Fidel's capitalist pig roast.

But according to a lawsuit filed earlier this month by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in U.S. District Court, Chino Latino also serves up a heaping platter of discrimination for its Hispanic employees.

According to the civil complaint, the business has systematically discriminated against its Latino workers, most of whom work in the back of the restaurant. "The harassment and different terms and conditions of employment included, but was not limited to, use of hostile epithets, slurs, different discipline, and harsher treatment based upon their national origin," the lawsuit reads.

In 2003, the complaint alleges, Chino Latino employees Pedro Carrasco and Edwin Santoscoy organized a meeting with management to discuss concerns they had about treatment of Hispanic workers. The company's response: the pair of agitators were summarily fired.

Carrasco subsequently filed a discrimination complaint with the EEOC. After the government agency conducted an investigation, the claim was determined to have merit. The EEOC is seeking back-pay and monetary damages for the two employees, as well as others who have been negatively impacted by the company's alleged practices.

Kip Clayton, vice president for business development at Parasole Restaurant Holdings, the parent company of Chino Latino, denies that the business is guilty of any wrongdoing. "We certainly cooperated with the EEOC, but our response back to them is that Chino Latino isn't guilty of discriminating against these employees," he says. "They were fired for cause. Chino Latino is a great place to work."

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