Renowned celebrity haunt in West Hollywood, SoHo House, is facing legal action from a former employee who alleges racial discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation, and a failure to prevent discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Eduardo Rodriguez, the plaintiff, filed the lawsuit in Santa Monica Superior Court on September 15, seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
KNX News reports that Rodriguez, who worked as a back server at the Malibu location since March 2018, before being transferred to the West Hollywood branch the following year, claims he was denied promotions and ultimately terminated in March after raising concerns about racial discrimination within the establishment.
According to Rodriguez’s lawsuit, his duties included maintaining bar areas, clearing empty dishware, and restocking bar supplies. In May 2022, he expressed his desire for promotions, specifically seeking a server position. However, management informed him that he needed to work as a food runner or back server, positions he had already held previously.
The lawsuit contends that during the same period, non-Latino employees were promoted to server positions without fulfilling the purported prerequisites of having previously worked as food runners or back servers. Rodriguez’s suit also alleges that other Latino and non-white employees were similarly denied promotions to server roles.
Rodriguez also claims that the general manager of the restaurant made derogatory remarks about Latinos, including the statement that “Mexicans are too problematic.” The suit asserts that this same manager shielded non-Latino workers from consequences for their mistakes.
In January, Rodriguez met with a manager to voice his concerns about the alleged discrimination within SoHo House. He pointed out that immigrant employees were consistently assigned to the kitchen’s rear, and new hires were rarely of Latino descent. However, according to the lawsuit, the manager took no meaningful action to address Rodriguez’s complaints.
In the same month, Rodriguez applied for a server promotion once more but was rejected in February. He believed this rejection was a result of SoHo House’s reluctance to promote non-white employees to “client-facing” positions.
Rodriguez submitted another application for a server position in March, but within a week, he was falsely accused of consuming restaurant coffee and criticized for accidentally dropping a glass, a common occurrence in restaurant settings. Both incidents were cited as grounds for his termination on March 20.
Rodriguez contends that his race and retaliation for his discrimination complaints were the actual reasons for his dismissal, resulting in lost earnings and emotional distress.