On April 4, 1989, Black employees and applicants to Shoney's restaurants filed a class action complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, (Judge Roger Vinson) alleging racial discrimination in hiring, promotion, discharge, and while on the job. Please note that all docket entries before January 25, 1993 appear on a hard copy of the docket. This document is available on PACER and is posted in the database.
A copy of the complaints and amended complaints are not available. However, according to the information in the several opinions posted in the database, the nine representative plaintiffs were former employees or applicants of restaurants operated by the defendant corporation and its franchisees. The plaintiffs alleged company wide racial discrimination—specifically that Shoney's refused to hire blacks or only hired them for "back of the restaurant" jobs where they would not come into contact with customers. They also alleged discrimination in promotion, discharge, retaliation, and harassment on the job. The plaintiffs filed their suit under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. and sought class certification. They demanded more than half a billion dollars in back pay and punitive damages, in addition to a court-ordered plan to counteract claims of years of racially discriminatory company policies.
In an unpublished opinion, the District Court dispensed with numerous motions by both parties on September 27, 1991. <i>Haynes v. Shoney, Inc.,</I> No. 89-30093, 1991 WL 354933 (N.D. Fla. 1991). In a published opinion on March 12, 1992, the District Court declined to retroactively apply the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which would have created a new cause of action and changed rules pertaining to damages. <i>Haynes v. Shoney, Inc.,</I> 803 F. Supp. 393 (N.D. Fla. 1992). In an unpublished order on June 22, 1992, the District Court certified a class as: "A class of black restaurant employees shall be, and is, certified to represent claims of failure to hire, harassment, failure to promote, discriminatory discharge, and retaliation. The designation of this class action as a Rule 23(b)(2) or a Rule 23(b)(3) action will be deferred while the parties are given the opportunity to address the matters raised herein regarding the extent to which unresolved equitable issues remain. This class will consist of employees from Shoney's restaurants and Captain D's restaurants only. This class action will not proceed against Shoney's, Inc.'s franchisees, RIC, or the non-restaurant divisions, such as Mike Rose Foods, the Commissary or Shoney's Lodging. The class will be temporally limited with a beginning cut off date of February 4, 1988, and ending April 19, 1991. Only those plaintiffs who worked at the store level shall be joined as class action plaintiffs. Thus, clerical or upper-level managerial (above store level) employees are not included." <i>Haynes v. Shoney's, Inc.,</I> No. 89-30093, 1992 WL 752127 (N.D. Fla. 1992). The Court also severed several plaintiffs from the class action, allowing them to pursue individual claims, and dismissed the claims of two plaintiffs as untimely. A week later in an unpublished order, the District Court denied the defendant's motion for summary judgment.
In an unpublished opinion on January 25, 1993, the District Court approved a consent decree and included it in its entirety as an exhibit. <i>Haynes v. Shoney's, Inc.,</i>No. 89-30093, 1993 U.S. Dist. Lexis 749 (N.D. Fla. 1993). The settlement class had two parts: (1) all blacks who were applicants or constructive applicants at any time during the class period; and (2) all blacks who were employees of the covered concepts at any time during the class period. The parties agreed to $132,500,000 in damages and substantial injunctive relief, including $20 million in attorneys' fees. The injunctive relief included the designation by Shoney's of a senior management official to supervise Shoney's human resources and personnel functions, the designation of two equal employment opportunity managers, the designation of two recruitment administrators, the establishment and publication by Shoney's of an internal procedure to receive and act upon complaints, the establishment of hiring and promotion goals for black persons, the creation of training and education programs, the creation of a tuition reimbursement program for black employees, and the adoption and implementation of job qualification and performance standards designed to insure that equal employment opportunities are denied to no individual on account of race.
According to a law review article examining the settlement, by 1997, African Americans constituted 21% of Shoney's managers (compared to 14.5% when the lawsuit was filed in 1989) and 35% of its workforce (compared to 28% in 1989). The decree had a 10-year term, but it allowed Shoney's to petition for termination of oversight after 7 years; the court granted this petition. In 1998, Shoney's was listed by Fortune as the 13th best company for minorities to work for (based on hiring, promotion, and retention). But it lost ground (to 36th of 50) in the 2000 list, and was not included at all subsequently. Nancy Levit, <i>Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform,</i> 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367, 388-389 (2008).
The District Court continued to handle some matters, such as denying a motion to intervene, designating a bank to hold the funds, and so forth until July 26, 1995, the last entry on the old docket. The case was reopened in 2000 for the purpose of releasing the defendant from the consent decree. The last entry on the docket is November 11, 2005, and notes a copy of the original paper docket is available.Eric Weiler - 08/18/2010