McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants Inc. and McCormick and Schmick Restaurant Corporation will pay $1.3 million and provide significant equitable relief to settle a pattern-or-practice race discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency has announced.

The EEOC filed the lawsuit in 2008, charging that McCormick & Schmick’s engaged in a pattern or practice of race discrimination against African-American job applicants by refusing to hire them for front-of-the-house positions at its two Baltimore locations, McCormick & Schmick’s and M&S Grill, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The EEOC further alleged that black front-of-house workers hired at the two Baltimore restaurants were denied equal work assignments because of their race. In addition, the EEOC charged that McCormick & Schmick’s advertising for job opportunities on its website had previously contained visual depictions of employees that expressed a preference for non-black workers to the ordinary reader.

The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland after first attempting to reach a voluntary prelitigation settlement through its conciliation process. The lawsuit was settled by the parties prior to any adjudication by the federal court with the assistance of U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan K. Gauvey, who served as the mediator.

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