Lawsuit: NYC businessman weeded out minorities

August 16, 2010 2:44:54 PM PDT
A lawsuit accuses a New York City businessman of using Facebook and MySpace to keep certain minorities from making reservations at his nightclub.

Five former workers at Bowlmor Lanes in Union Square filed the lawsuit in Manhattan state Supreme Court. They say they were fired after objecting to what they described as racially discriminatory practices.

In the virtual tour, the owners of Bowlmor Lanes and Carnival Night Club call the hot spots a delightfully, entertaining experience that is inviting and friendly but in this recently filed lawsuit five former employees disagree saying owner Tom Shannon went out of his way to keep out black and Hispanic customers.

Bryan Arce,, the Plaintiff's Attorney, says "There are issues of discrimination against the patrons and certain employees spoke out about the discrimination and didn't want to go along with it and were terminated for not going along with the plan."

The former VP of Revenue maintains he had several meetings with Shannon and other senior executives, " discuss possible ways to exclude certain people..."

Arce, says "We're alleging the defendants take information about patrons either phone numbers, names, addresses, emails and use that to look up on social networking sites and see profiles and pictures and using profiles, screen people..."

The lawsuit goes on to say a dress code was enforced, no baseball caps, sports jerseys, over sized jeans or timberland boots, all meant to allegedly "...weed out certain groups.."

But Shannon's attorney says her client's company is an industry leader when it comes to diversity.

"There's such a large percentage of individuals within the corporation that are minorities and we are outraged to have these kinds of allegations", said Mercedes Colwin.

She says the plaintiffs were all short time employees who had performed poorly on the job and are now angry that they are out of work, calling the lawsuit a shake down.